The Minister of Defense of Japan, Mr. Kono Taro, and Australian Minister for Defence, Senator Linda Reynolds, committed to driving bilateral defence cooperation forward during Minister Reynolds’ first official visit to Tokyo on 20 November 2019. They emphasized that as Indo-Pacific security dynamics became more challenging, the strategic logic underpinning Japan-Australia cooperation was only getting stronger.
The Ministers welcomed the significant progress in the defence relationship in 2019, including the first bilateral fighter jet exercise BUSHIDO GUARDIAN and Japan’s largest ever participation in the Australia-United States joint exercise TALISMAN SABRE.
Ministers committed to building on this momentum in 2020, deepening the Special Strategic Partnership between the two countries and aimed at contributing to a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
United in their shared ambition, the Ministers affirmed that they will accelerate defence cooperation in the coming years including in the fields of military exercises, personnel exchanges, space and cyber policy, defence science and technology. To this end, the Ministers affirmed:
- regularising Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s participation in Exercise PITCH BLACK commencing in 2020 in Australia, and fighter exercise BUSHIDO GUARDIAN in Japan.
- progressing the establishment of an Australian Army liaison officer in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to further enhance cooperation and deepen interoperability.
- the establishment of a program to exchange defence scientists and engineers to deepen bilateral collaborative defence research and development between Japan`s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency and Australia`s Defence Science and Technology Group.
They confirmed that both sides continue to make efforts towards concluding a reciprocal access agreement which would improve administrative, policy, and legal procedures to facilitate joint operations and exercises.
The Ministers reiterated their determination to work bilaterally to enhance defence and security cooperation with partners in the Indo-Pacific region including in the fields of, capacity building, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The Ministers reaffirmed their intention to develop defence cooperation among Australia, Japan and the United States.
The Ministers exchanged their views on regional issues including the South China Sea, the East China Sea and North Korea.
The Ministers discussed the recent series of ballistic missile launches by North Korea, which is a serious threat to the regional security and condemned the launches as violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
The Ministers remained committed to efforts to achieve North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges of North Korea in accordance with all relevant UNSCRs and urged North Korea to fully comply with its international obligations.
The Ministers welcomed and reaffirmed their commitment to implement the relevant UNSCRs and sustained international cooperation to deter, disrupt, and ultimately eliminate illicit activities, such as illegal ship-to-ship transfers.