I leave Australia this morning to visit Japan for talks with my counterpart, Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto.
This will be my first visit to Japan as Minister for Defence and my seventh visit as an Australian Government Minister.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the modern bilateral defence relationship.
Australia and Japan’s bilateral defence and security partnership has grown in strength in recent years.
The 14 September 2+2 Meeting in Sydney reflects the strength of the bilateral ties and the significant progress in recent years in developing our defence and security relationship.
Australia and Japan are natural strategic partners with shared values, strategic interests, and respective alliances with the United States.
Australia and Japan share a common strategic objective of ensuring long-term peace, stability and prosperity in the changing strategic and security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
I look forward to meeting with Minister Morimoto to discuss our common strategic interests in the region. While in Tokyo, I will also meet with other senior Ministers and Parliamentarians.
Both countries are committed to strengthening defence and security cooperation; and working closely together to promote regional stability, peace and prosperity.
Australia and Japan have commenced enhanced peacekeeping cooperation between Australian Defence Force and Japanese Self-Defense Force personnel deployed to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
In May 2010 Australia and Japan took a significant step toward further improving bilateral security cooperation by signing an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) to enable logistics support between Australian and Japanese forces cooperating in international operations, such as peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
In March 2011, Australia’s support to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami was an important reaffirmation of the comprehensive Australia-Japan strategic, security and economic partnership and also the growing strength and capability of our trilateral cooperation with the United States.
In May 2012, Australia and Japan signed an Agreement on the Security of Information to provide a framework to shared classified information. This will be crucial for the further expansion of defence and security cooperation.
Mr Smith's Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392