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2015年11月30日 (月)

日豪2プラス2 安保協力を重層的に進めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan-Australia security relationship must be enhanced on multiple layers
日豪2プラス2 安保協力を重層的に進めたい

Security cooperation between Japan and Australia is an important foundation for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The collaboration must be deepened multilaterally by promoting bilateral communications.

After the so-called two-plus-two meeting of their foreign and defense ministers in Sydney, the two countries issued a joint statement calling for strengthening defense cooperation through joint military exercises and exchange between troops, among other things.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the Japan-Australia relationship is “a special one sharing fundamental values and strategic interests.” His Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, responded by saying the bilateral relationship is more important than ever.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who had built a close relationship with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, resigned in September over an economic slump and other matters. As his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, who belongs to the same Liberal Party as Abbott, attaches more importance to relations with China, there was concern in some quarters before the two-plus-two meeting that Tokyo-Canberra relations would regress under his administration.

Abe and Turnbull held their first conference in mid-November in Turkey. With the holding of the recent two-plus-two meeting, Tokyo-Canberra relations seem to be on track. The two governments must continue political dialogue as they work toward building confidence.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani explained the security-related laws enacted in September. Bishop welcomed the security legislation, saying that it would allow Japan to make a greater contribution to peacekeeping activities, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The security legislation is primarily aimed at solidifying the Japan-U.S. alliance and international cooperation, thereby ensuring security for Japan and the world.

Trilateral cooperation

The scope of Japan’s logistic support has been expanded to include troops other than those of the United States based on the assumption that Australian troops would be mobilized in case of emergencies around Japan.

A multilayered cooperative relationship must be built through such efforts as joint drills between Self-Defense Forces and the Australian military and trilateral exercises involving U.S. troops.

Australia will select a partner for joint development of its next-generation submarine from among Japan, France and Germany.

Japan’s submarine manufacturing technology is said to be among the best in the world. In this connection, the government needs to hold sufficient talks with Australia to prevent the leak of technologies to third-party countries.

With China’s maritime advances in the East and South China Seas and construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea in mind, the joint statement expressed “strong opposition to any coercive and unilateral actions.” The statement also said all nations have the freedom of navigation and flight under international law.

The U.S. Navy’s patrols within 12 nautical miles of the reclaimed islands embody the principle of international law. Japan and Australia need to support the United States through every possible means.

Japan and Australia plan to provide assistance measures for Papua New Guinea and other island countries in the Pacific, such as enhancing the capabilities of ensuring maritime security and improving social infrastructure.

Ensuring the safety of sea-lanes in the Western Pacific is of common interest to all the nations concerned. Japan should make a proactive commitment in this regard.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 24, 2015)


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