Japan and Australia to strengthened bilateral military co-operation

Japan and Australia have committed to deepening their special strategic partnership by enhancing their bilateral military co-operation as China increases its influence in the region.

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In a joint statement issued during Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ first official visit to Tokyo on 20 November, the defence ministers of the two countries vowed to accelerate defence co-operation in the coming years, including in the fields of military exercises, personnel exchanges, space and cyber policy, as well as defence science and technology.

To this end Reynolds and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, affirmed that their intention to regularise the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s participation in Exercise ‘Pitch Black’ from 2020 in Australia, and formalise the bilateral air combat exercise ‘Bushido Guardian’ in Japan.

Australia and Japan reached an agreement on a deal to facilitate larger and more regular joint military exercises, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Darwin last year.

Mr Abe, who is the first prime minister to visit Darwin since Japan bombed the city in World War II, also inspected the massive $US40 billion Ichthys gas project, Japan’s biggest ever foreign investment project by Japanese Company Inpex Browse Limited.

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