Australia wants Japan to be seen as part of a broad defence network which includes the AUKUS partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his defence and foreign ministers during a visit to Tokyo on Friday.

The ministerial meeting ended with a joint statement flagging consideration of a future rotational deployment of Japanese aircraft including F-35s, participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre and submarine search and rescue training.

There is also potential for three-way training with US forces in northern Australia and collaboration on defence equipment, science and technology.

An Australian defence industry trade mission will also head to Japan next year.

Mr Marles said in a speech that Australia saw Japan as being in step with the AUKUS partnership.

“AUKUS is a capability and technology partnership – one which we hope will form part of a broader network Australia seeks to build, in which Japan is central,” he said.

In October, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Mr Kishida signed the Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation (JDSC).

‘Elevated to an unprecedented level’

Mr Marles indicated Friday’s talks focused on expanding the JDSC, saying Japan and Australia had “never been more strategically aligned”.

“The partnership between our two countries is now being elevated to an unprecedented level,” he said.

Mr Marles said adding nuclear-powered submarines to Australia’s defence forces through the AUKUS arrangement would not only “revolutionise the potency of the ADF” but drive the development of other advanced capabilities.

“My intent is to grow defence industry integration with Japan: bilaterally, through our trilateral mechanisms with the United States, and, when ready, via our advanced capabilities work in AUKUS as well,” he said.

“This is an incredibly ambitious agenda but the world is changing and so we must respond.”

He said Australia and Japan were showing a like-minded response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which illustrated an opposition to “aggression even on distant shores”.

“Australia and Japan have led the Indo-Pacific’s response to Putin’s invasion and the growing solidarity between Europe, NATO and our region,” he said.

China’s decision to “shape the world around it in a way that we have not seen before” gave rise to challenges for both Australia and Japan, both of which heavily relied on trade with China.

“Australia’s relationship with Japan is foundational. It can be – we need it to be – the ballast of East Asia,” Mr Marles said.


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