• Kyodo

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Japan and Australia will seek to revise a bilateral pact to boost logistics cooperation between their forces, with a signing ceremony expected in late December when the two countries’ ministers meet for security talks, a Japanese government source said Saturday.

Through the revision of the Japan-Australia acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA), ammunition will be newly added among the supplies that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will be able to provide to Australian forces in line with Japan’s new security legislation, which expanded the role of the SDF in various fields.

With uncertainties remaining on how U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will deal with security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan apparently hopes the reinforcement of bilateral ties with Australia will be beneficial for trilateral security cooperation involving the United States.

The Japan-Australia ACSA, which went into force in January 2013, enables SDF personnel and Australia’s military to share food, fuel and other supplies during U.N. peacekeeping operations, international relief operations, joint exercises and other occasions. The provision of weapons and ammunition has been excluded from the accord.

The move is part of a series of changes brought by the controversial security legislation, which came into force in March. Critics say it includes elements that erode the pacifist post-World War II Constitution.

The legislation allows Japan to provide ammunition to other countries’ forces that are responding to a situation deemed to have an “important influence on Japan’s peace and security.”

Japan and Australia plan to hold “two-plus-two” talks involving the two countries’ defense and foreign ministers in Tokyo around Dec. 20, when the signing of the amended ACSA is expected, the source said. The security talks have not been held since November last year.

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