Defense Minister Akinori Eto and visiting Australian counterpart David Johnston agreed Thursday to advance cooperation measures based on a joint statement their countries’ leaders made in July.
“We discussed measures in a wide range of areas to strengthen bilateral defense partnership and to deepen our ‘special strategic partnership,’ ” Eto told reporters after a 50-minute meeting with Johnston at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed bilateral accords in July in Canberra to increase cooperation on defense equipment and technological research.
The two also agreed to mull ways to strengthen joint military exercises, according to the Defense Ministry.
As for Japan’s military ties with the United States, Eto said Johnston backed last week’s interim report on revising the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines that called for more global military cooperation between the two countries.
Both defense chiefs agreed that developing multilateral partnerships that include Japan, Australia and the United States, would lead to stability in northeast Asia, according to Eto.
Meanwhile, Johnston asked for Japan’s assistance on Australia’s Future Submarine project, in which 12 new submarines will be acquired to replace its six outdated Collins-class boats.
Eto said his ministry would study ways of cooperating, a Defense Ministry official said.