Thank you Professor [Takamizawa] for your invitation to speak today at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS).
It is a great pleasure to again be in Tokyo.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS).
This is my seventh visit to Japan as an Australian Government Minister, my first as the Minister for Defence.
A strong relationship
Japan is Australia's closest friend and our strongest supporter in Asia. Our relationship has deepened and strengthened over time.
We have developed a comprehensive strategic partnership that encompasses political, security and economic cooperation, as well as people-to-people collaboration on a wide range of activities.
Shared values are at the heart of our relationship, together with common approaches to regional and international challenges.
We are both developed market economies and robust democracies.
We are both committed to the protection of human rights and the rule of law.
We are both Alliance partners of the United States.
We are both active members of the United Nations and we are both committed to the preservation of peace, security and stability and the enhancement of prosperity in our region.
It is in Australia's national interest for Japan to play a positive, active and innovative role in world affairs.
Our partnership stands on the twin pillars of long-standing economic links, and growing security and defence cooperation.
Our trade and investment ties were founded on wool, then beef and mineral resources and subsequently petroleum resources.
By the late 1980s, Australia had established itself as a major supplier of energy and resources and agricultural products to Japan.
In turn we were buying electronic consumer goods and cars from Japan in unprecedented numbers.
As a result of these exchanges, two way merchandise trade with Japan has doubled in value in the past 20 years.
The complementary nature of our economies has helped the relationship flourish.
And is becoming even more pronounced, as seen particularly in the fields of energy and agriculture.
For more than 40 years, Japan has been Australia's key export market and a reliable and stable customer for Australian goods and services.
Japanese investment has played a vital role in the development of many of Australia's export industries and continues to significantly underpin Australia's prosperity.
A partnership for the future
Our strategic partnership starts from a very firm foundation.
We began 20 years ago with collaboration that has shaped the growth of our region.
In 1989, under then Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Toshiki Kaifu, our Governments worked closely together to create an Asia Pacific regional grouping to promote multilateral discussion on issues of trade and investment.
These discussions led to APEC, and we remain close partners in APEC.
Just as we collaborated on the formation of APEC, so we worked together on the emergence of regional bodies, including the expanded East Asia Summit (EAS).
The modern defence relationship
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 and we have put in place a strong architecture to support its future development.
We recently conducted in Sydney the fourth Australia-Japan Joint Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations.
Australia’s "2+2" consultations with Japan were the first formal Foreign and Defence Ministerial consultations that Australia entered into inAsia.
The 2+2 dialogue reflects our shared perspectives of regional and global security, as well as our shared values.
At the recent 2+2 meeting, Ministers declared that “Australia and Japan are natural strategic partners sharing common values and interests, including a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, protection of human rights and open markets”.
Ministers also declared that “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.”
Importantly, Ministers committed to working even more closely on security and defence matters to achieve that objective.
Australia and Japan agreed to strengthen practical bilateral defence cooperation to enable the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and both defence ministries to work closely, effectively and at short notice in order to address regional and broader international security and defence requirements.
We also agreed to strengthen interoperability between our two countries’ defence organisations, to enable Australia and Japan to work together in the fields of maritime security, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
This involves conducting regular air, land, and maritime exercises and engagement to boost interoperability and increase the skills and capabilities of both defence organisations.
We have agreed to deepen bilateral information exchanges at the strategic, operational and tactical levels in support of interoperability and to expand people-to-people links and exchanges, including exchanges of strategy, policy and science personnel.
Importantly, Ministers agreed to deepen Australia-Japan science and technology cooperation in the field of defence, noting Japan’s 2011 Guidelines for Overseas Transfer of Defense Equipment.
We also agreed to initiate information exchanges in defence science and technology fields of mutual interest and to deepen the relationship and linkages between the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) of Australia and the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) of Japan.
Ministers agreed to examine opportunities for defence capacity building cooperation in South East Asia and the Pacific.
We also agreed to deepen cooperation in exercises and other practical exchanges and to explore further opportunities to work jointly to contribute to international peace building efforts.
As well we will review existing bilateral cooperation frameworks to ensure they meet the needs of the expanding Australia-Japan relationship and develop additional arrangements if necessary.
This confirmation of a natural strategic partnership followed the signature at the previous 2+2 meeting inTokyo in May 2010 of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement. The ACSA will enable logistics support between Australian and Japanese forces cooperating in international operations, such as peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
We are proud that Australia has become only the second country, after the United States, to have concluded such an agreement with Japan.
In May 2012, Australia and Japan signed an Agreement on the Security of Information to provide a framework to share classified information.
This is essential for the further expansion of defence and security cooperation.
These agreements are a testament to the increasing strength, depth and trust that marks our strategic and security cooperation.
Australia and Japan also cooperate on defence and security issues in the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) with our mutual ally the United States.
The first Trilateral Strategic Dialogue at Foreign Ministers level was held in 2006.
Trilateral defence cooperation between Australia, Japan and the United States has grown steadily in recent years. Australia, Japan and the United States’ work together in responding to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011 was unprecedented.
Defence Ministers first met at a Trilateral Ministerial in Singapore in June this year in the margins of the Shangri La Dialogue.
Trilateral Defence Ministers agreed that Australia-Japan-United States trilateral defence cooperation has supported and enhanced the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and committed to ensuring this continues.
Ministers highlighted the constantly evolving strategic landscape in the Asia Pacific and the increasingly diverse security challenges — including terrorism, piracy, large scale natural disasters, trafficking in arms, narcotics, and people, cyber threats, a congested and contested space domain, proliferation of missile technology and weapons of mass destruction, and ensuring maritime security and freedom of navigation.
Trilateral Defence Ministers undertook that throughout the remainder of this decade, we would work to refine and consolidate the trilateral defence relationship to support the network of existing alliances, forums, and dialogues to meet a variety of common security challenges.
Ministers also committed to implementing an action plan that promotes a strong and flexible trilateral defence relationship over the remainder of this decade to enhance the security and prosperity of our region.
Security ties into the future
Our defence and security cooperation has come a long way in recent years.
When I was last in Tokyo as Australia’s Foreign Minister for the Third 2+2 Consultations, I said to the Japan National Press Club that “the conclusion of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement should mark the beginning of a new phase of more frequent, practical and ambitious bilateral security cooperation between Australia and Japan”.
While there is still a way to go to implement the ACSA, we have nonetheless delivered on the ambition for a new phase of more frequent, practical and ambitious bilateral security cooperation.
It was a great honour for Australia that we were able to provide support to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Australia sent one C-17 to Japan immediately after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami as part of Australia’s response, initially providing strategic airlift of civilian urban search and rescue personnel, dogs and equipment.
Over the subsequent fortnight, the aircraft undertook 23 sorties providing intra-country airlift of vital stores and equipment assisting in the humanitarian effort.
During its deployment, the C-17 and its crew moved more than a million pounds (450 tonnes) of cargo, including 41 vehicles, as well as 135 passengers.
Subsequently two additional RAAF C-17s undertook a mission from Australia to Japan carrying a remotely operated water cannon system to assist with containment operations at the Fukushima Number One Nuclear Power Plant.
This saw three of the Royal Australian Air Force’s then fleet of four C-17s respond to the disaster in what was the first ADF deployment toJapansince we left as a member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in 1952.
Australian C-17 aircraft worked closely with the United States Forces Japan Air Operations Command throughout the relief mission.
This was an historic first and a very practical demonstration of Australia-Japan-United States trilateral cooperation.
Australia’s support to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami was an important reaffirmation of the natural strategic partnership between Australia and Japan in the political, security and economic spheres and also the growing strength and capability of our trilateral cooperation with the United States.
Australia and Japan have a strong history of cooperation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, including in East Timor and Cambodia and I believe that we can do more together under UN auspices.
Last month, Defense Minister Morimoto and I jointly 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).
The enhanced peacekeeping cooperation in UNMISS is the first time that Australia and Japanhave engaged 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.
Our practical cooperation in exercising continues. In Sydney earlier this month Defence Minister Morimoto and I 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 this year, Australia participated in Exercise Cope North Guam, a trilateral air defence exercise with Japan and the United States.
Following our discussion in Sydney regarding the potential for Australia-Japan science and technology cooperation in the field of defence, yesterday in Tokyo Mr Morimoto and I had the opportunity to discuss in general terms the potential for such cooperation.
We agreed to discussions on a framework under which future technology cooperation can be progressed.
The role of regional architecture
Australia and Japan have greatly benefited from the region’s long period of peace, security, stability and prosperity.
We owe this in large part to the creation and growth of regional institutions like ASEAN and its related forums, institutions that continue to build habits of dialogue and cooperation in the region.
Since coming to office in late 2007, the Australian Government has advocated the need for a regional Leaders’ meeting which can consider both strategic and security matters, as well as economic matters, with all the relevant countries of our region in the same room at the same time.
That is why we very much welcomed the entry of the United States and Russia into an expanded East Asia Summit (EAS) last year. TheUnited States and Russia joined with ASEAN countries plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.
Presidents and Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers from all key countries in the region now meet to discuss the full gamut of issues, from the economy and trade and investment through to peace and security.
Australia strongly supported the inaugural meeting of the ASEAN Plus Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM Plus) in Hanoi in October 2010 and looks forward to the second meeting in Brunei in 2013.
The establishment of the ADMM Plus offers real opportunities for enhanced practical military to military and defence to defence cooperation, including for disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
Australia is pleased to co-chair with Malaysia the Maritime Security Expert Working Group of the ADMM Plus.
This now works alongside the other expert working groups including the expert working group on Military Medicine chaired by Singapore and Japan.
As trading nations, Australia and Japan have a vested interest in the security of vital international sea lines of transport and communication and in the stability of world markets and in open international trade.
Australia reiterates our national interest, along with the international community, in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce in international waters.
We do not take a position on the competing territorial claims in the region, and we call on nations to clarify and pursue their territorial claims and accompanying maritime rights in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Australia has also welcomed efforts at dialogue within the ASEAN framework. We welcome the agreement between China and ASEAN to use the ASEAN draft Code of Conduct as the reference point for such dialogue.
The strong, enduring bond that Australia and Japan have built over the course of the 20th century has placed us in a uniquely strong position to work together on the challenges of the 21st Century.
We have established a great friendship, and forged a strong partnership. The challenge is to take these foundations and build on them and together to play a positive, active and innovative role in regional and global affairs.