On 31 January I spoke with my Japanese counterpart, Mr Itsunori Onodera, to congratulate him on his appointment as Minister for Defense.
I met Mr Onodera during my visit to Tokyo in September last year.
Mr Onodera is the local member of the Japanese Diet for Minami Sanrikucho which was devastated by the tsunami in March 2011.
Mr Onodera accompanied the Prime Minister to Minami Sanrikucho when she visited the area in April 2011.
Mr Onodera expressed his continuing gratitude for Australia’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support to Japan in response to the tsunami.
Mr Onodera and I welcomed the entry into force on 31 January of the Australia-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) following an exchange of diplomatic notes in Canberra.
The ACSA will play a valuable role in furthering the Defence relationship and will enable both countries to coordinate mutual logistical support in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping and exercises and training.
Mr Onodera and I discussed our shared strategic interests in the region and steps to advance our practical defence cooperation. We also discussed the potential for Australia-Japan science and technology cooperation in the field of defence.
Mr Onodera and I looked forward to further strengthening our Trilateral relationship with the United States, including opportunities for exercises and training.
Mr Onodera accepted my condolences for the murder of 10 Japanese civilians in the recent terrorist attack in Algeria.
Minister Smith's Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999