The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia agreed Wednesday to cooperate on defense equipment and technology research and development, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to bolster its security capabilities amid China's increasing military assertiveness.

The ministers, gathered at a so-called "two-plus-two" ministerial meeting in Tokyo, said marine hydrodynamics used in submarines will be the first area of the joint research.

Tokyo and Canberra plan to kick off the research on submarine technologies in fiscal 2015, according to Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.