Today Foreign Minister Carr and I led the Australian delegation to the Fourth Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial ("2+2") consultations. The Japanese delegation was led by Foreign Minister Gemba and Defense Minister Morimoto.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the modern bilateral defence relationship with the visit of four Japanese Maritime Self Defense ships to Sydney in 1962.
Australia and Japan’s bilateral defence and security partnership has grown in strength in recent years.
Australia’s "2+2" consultations with Japan are the first formal Foreign and Defence Ministerial consultations that Australia entered into in Asia.
Today's "2+2" consultations discussed regional and global security issues and ways to further advance defence and security cooperation between Japan and Australia.
Australia and Japan also cooperate on defence and security issues in the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) with the United States. The first TSD Defence Ministers' Meeting took place this year in the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June.
In our bilateral discussions, Mr Morimoto and I discussed regional strategic developments and opportunities for further Defence cooperation bilaterally and in the region.
Mr Morimoto and I welcomed the recent decision to commence 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).
Australia and Japan have a strong history of cooperation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, including in East Timor and Cambodia.
The enhanced peacekeeping cooperation in UNMISS is the first time that Australia and Japan will engage in an operation jointly at such a close level. Two ADF personnel have deployed to provide the JSDF with information and liaison services related to the implementation of the UNMISS mandate.
Mr Morimoto and I also welcomed continuing growth in joint exercises, including Japan's participation in the recently completed multilateral maritime Exercise Kakadu which took place in waters off Darwin. This followed the bilateral maritime security Exercise Nichi Go Trident in Japan in June. In February, Australia participated in Exercise Cope North Guam, a trilateral air defence exercise with Japan and the United States.
Mr Morimoto and I also discussed the potential for Australia-Japan science and technology cooperation in the field of defence, following on from Japan’s 2011 Guidelines for Overseas Transfer of Defense Equipment.
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 a historic first, at one stage during the relief operation Australia had three C-17 aircraft in Japan transporting Japanese Self Defence Force personnel and equipment to the disaster zone to begin the relief effort.
Australian C-17 aircraft worked closely with the United States Forces Japan Air Operations Command throughout relief mission. This was also a historic first and a very practical demonstration of Australia-Japan-United States Trilateral Strategic Cooperation and the benefit this can provide to the region in responding to an emergency situation of this size.
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.
I was accompanied by the Secretary of the Department of Defence Mr Duncan Lewis and the Acting Chief of the Defence Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin.
Media note: The joint communiqué for the 4th Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations can be found at http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2012/09/15/4th-australia-japan-foreign-and-defence-ministerial-consultations/
Mr Smith's Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
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