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Japan-Australia partnership crucial to improve defence of Asia-Pacific

Publication Date : 10-07-2014

 

Japan and Australia are strategic partners that share the responsibility of fostering peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We urge the two countries to deepen their mutual relationship on the occasion of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Australia.

In his talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday, Abe explained Japan’s reinterpretation of the Constitution to allow limited exercise of the right of collective self-defence.

Abe stressed that the aim of the reinterpretation was to “protect the lives and peaceful livelihood of the people and let Japan play a more proactive role in the international community”.

Abbott welcomed Japan’s move and credited Japan as being a peace-loving country, saying that “Japan has been...an exemplary international citizen in the postwar era”.

The reinterpretation enables Japan to exercise its collective self-defence right and order the Self-Defence Forces to protect Australian vessels when an emergency occurs on the Korean Peninsula or elsewhere.

During a speech to the Australian Parliament, Abe said, “Australia and Japan have now freed ourselves from one old layer and are now moving towards a new ‘special relationship.’” We concur with Abe’s view.

Abe and Abbott signed an accord on the joint development of defence equipment. Australia is interested in Japan’s submarine technology, and the two countries are scheduled to conduct a joint study on the fluid mechanics of ships. We urge the two nations to steadily continue cooperation in this respect.

Trilateral cooperation

It also is essential to expand joint exercises between the SDF and the armed forces of Australia and the United States, an ally of both Japan and Australia.

China has been trying to change the status quo in the East and South China seas by force. Australia has strong economic ties with China, but like Japan and the United States it places emphasis on the rule of law. It is important for the three nations to join hands and tenaciously press China to exercise restraint.

Abe and Abbott also signed an economic partnership agreement. Japan will reduce tariffs on Australian beef, while Australia’s tariffs on Japan’s medium-sized cars will be removed. The two nations will work for early enforcement of the agreement.

The two leaders also agreed to cooperate to bring about the early conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade negotiations.

Prior to his visit to Australia, Abe held talks in New Zealand with Prime Minister John Key. Abe and Key confirmed that they will work proactively for a conclusion of the TPP talks.

Promotion of free trade is one of the main pillars of the Abe administration’s growth strategy. It is imperative that the administration work hard on opening up its market on farm produce and other products and play an active role in concluding the TPP talks as early as possible.

Abe will next head for Papua New Guinea. It will be the first time in 29 years for a Japanese prime minister to visit the island nation. In talks with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the two leaders are expected to reach an agreement to cooperate on natural gas development.

In the western Pacific, China is increasing its influence over the Pacific Islands by supporting the building and renovation of harbors and ports. It therefore is important for Japan to build trust in the region through cooperation in such fields as disaster prevention and human resources development.

 

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