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Japan, Australia step up military cooperation

At a press conference on the 3rd, Japanese Defense Minister Yasuhiro Binta emphasized the importance of defense cooperation with like-minded countries, saying, “In order to ensure the security of our country, it is extremely important to strengthen cooperation with many countries, even if it is just one more country.”

On February 28, the Japanese government approved the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) at the cabinet meeting to enable smooth movement between the Self-Defense Force and the British and Australian armies. Negotiations are also underway in secret to sign an RAA with France. Japan aims to build a multi-level relationship with Australia and European countries, which are considered quasi-allies.

Second to Japan is India. The two countries signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) in 2020, which allows the Self-Defense Force and the Indian army to exchange food and fuel. This year, the Self-Defense Force and the Indian Air Force conducted their first joint training in January.

Japan is also trying to export equipment to India and ASEAN countries, and has already signed defense equipment and technology transfer agreements with Indonesia and Vietnam.

If exports are possible, it will establish a medium- to long-term relationship, and a senior official at the Defense Ministry said, “This is a powerful tool to attract (other countries) closer to Japan.”