Tokyo and Canberra agreed Thursday to reinforce defense cooperation in Asia amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear saber-rattling and try harder to engage Washington in the effort.

"Australia is our special strategic partner that shares basic values and strategic interests with us. We agreed to promote our cooperation to strengthen a free and open international order that is based on the laws," Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

In the so-called two-plus-two foreign and defense chief meeting, Kishida and Defense Minister Tomomi Inada met with their visiting Australian counterparts, Julie Bishop and Marise Payne, respectively, in Tokyo. It was their seventh such meeting.