Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will conclude his three-day trip to Australia today. Kishida met Australian counterpart Prime Minister Anthony
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will conclude his three-day trip to Australia today.
Kishida met Australian counterpart Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Perth. Although energy and infrastructure cooperation were discussed, the trip focuses on strengthening defense cooperation—in particular, the update of a bilateral defense agreement signed in 2007.
The update is timely from Tokyo’s perspective given increasing regional tensions with China, Russia and North Korea and is expected to iron out the legalities of another deal for reciprocal military training. This includes the stationing of troops in each other’s countries. It also prefaces Japan’s defense strategy announcement in December expected to green-light major military expansion. For Australia—in light of China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands; a pact viewed by Canberra as a direct security threat to Australia—the deal will significantly upgrade intelligence-sharing. Especially the tracking of China’s military presence from China’s eastern seaboard to the South Pacific.
Any delayed ratification of this deal would likely be over legal jurisdictional issues—Australia opposes Japan’s death penalty applying to Australians stationed in Japan. Otherwise, expect joint Japanese-Australian naval exercises in the pacific to increase—marking the first formal Japanese military presence in the South Pacific since the Second World War.