• Kyodo


Japan and Australia will likely agree during summit talks Monday to jointly develop defense equipment as they seek to bolster bilateral security and defense cooperation, a government source said Friday.

The agreement would be the first of its kind since Japan adopted new principles on the transfer of defense equipment on Tuesday to ease its long-held ban on arms exports, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to boost the nation’s status as a proactive contributor to global peace and security.

During the summit in Tokyo, Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott are expected to agree that the two countries will hold a meeting of their defense and foreign ministers by the summer and work out details such as potential areas for development, the source said.

Japan has already kicked off joint research on chemical protection suits with Britain and has agreed with France to set up a working-level panel to share information about exports of dual-use items, or equipment that can be used for military purposes.

Tokyo and Canberra, both U.S. allies, have been strengthening their alliance amid China’s growing assertiveness in the East and South China seas.

Abe and Abbott are expected to confirm the importance of trilateral cooperation with the United States at the summit, the source added.

Tokyo is upset with China’s repeated intrusions into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands.

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