History was made on April 7 when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shook hands with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on a free trade deal, Japan's first with a major agricultural exporter.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Abe said: "I'm really glad that the broad agreement was reached in the [economic partnership agreement (EPA)] negotiations. The Japan-Australia EPA [JAEPA] is an extremely important framework to promote trade and investment."

Abbott agreed, saying in a statement that Australia had "broken new ground" in the deal reached after seven years of negotiations. "This historic agreement is good for the Australian economy, good for jobs, good for farmers and good for consumers," Abbott said in welcoming the deal with the nation's second-largest trading partner.