Japan and Australia will strengthen their security and energy ties as the prime ministers of both countries fuel the need for peace in the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida met Saturday in Perth at an annual leaders’ meeting between Australia and Japan.
As part of Saturday’s talks, the two countries agreed to increase Japan’s access to hydrogen, LNG and minerals to improve energy security, while jointly striving for net zero.
The two countries will also seek to help other countries in the Indo-Pacific in their efforts to combat climate change.
As part of an updated security deal aimed at sending a message to China, Japanese troops will train in the Top End with their Australian counterparts.
“This statement sends a strong signal to the region about our strategic alignment,” said Mr. Albanian.
He said Australians and Japanese have a common desire for a peaceful Indo-Pacific, “where democracy and human rights are upheld, the rule of law prevails and disputes are settled peacefully”.
Mr Kishida said the two countries face an “ever-increasingly harsh strategic environment”.
“We agreed that our special strategic partnership has taken it to a new and higher level,” he said.
This is the fourth time Mr Albanian and Mr Kishida have met since Labor won the federal election in May.
Mr Kishida’s visit to Australia is the first by a Japanese Prime Minister since Shinzo Abe in 2018.
Before Saturday’s talks, Alex Bristow of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute described the mutual agreement as “hugely important”.
“It makes operations much smoother and it is important that both Australia and Japan are alliance partners of the US, increasing interoperability,” said Dr. Bristow.
Energy resilience will also be a priority, he said, with the expectation that the two countries will be more open in stating explicitly the need to counter Chinese aggression in the region.
He said economic coercion used by Beijing could also be used during the talks, in addition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Saturday, Mr Kishida pointed to the conflict as one of the reasons why there was now a stronger need to strengthen resources and energy security.
But he also warned that any use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine by Russia would be an “act of hostility against humanity”, adding that such weapons had not been used since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The transition to clean energy and investing in new technologies to achieve net zero were also on the agenda.
“One of the biggest security challenges for our region and the world is, of course, climate change,” said Mr Albanian.
Australia will pump the minerals needed to build green technology in Japan, as the two countries look for more ways to work together towards the net-zero transition.
Prime Minister Mark McGowan will host a luncheon for state business and Mr Kishida later on Saturday.