A Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between the militaries of Japan and Australia comes into force today. Signed in January 2022,
A Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between the militaries of Japan and Australia comes into force today.
Signed in January 2022, the deal allows for the deployment and training of Japanese military personnel in Australia and vice-versa. Additionally, it allows easier transportation of weapons and equipment for joint exercises and humanitarian missions. For Japan, it’s the first such agreement outside of the long-standing Status of Forces agreement with the US.
In practice, the agreement potentially conceives a constant rotation of troops in and out of Japan and Australia. In the absence of any NATO-like mutual defense alliance in the Indo-Pacific and the vicissitudes of US politics making future US commitments to Japan’s security unpredictable, Tokyo clearly feels vulnerable vis-à-vis China—and more recently Russia—in relation to territorial disputes and growing military assertiveness in the region, as well as the semi-regular brinkmanship of North Korea. Australia shares similar geopolitical vulnerabilities regarding China and this RAA provides a basis for similar agreements with India and the US. For Japan, the pact reflects its heightened defense strategy and unprecedented military build-up in recent years.
Given a similar RAA with the UK is in the process of ratification, expect Japan to seek out similar pacts with its allies in the medium term.