Around 40 troops from the Ground Self-Defense Force are currently in northern Australia participating in the biennial Talisman Saber military exercise conducted between Australia and the United States. It's the first time Japan has joined the drills, and represents the latest tightening of relations between the two countries as the U.S. allies respond to the Asia-Pacific's vexed security situation.

While the trajectory of the Japan-Australia relationship has been established for the better part of the past decade, it has intensified since Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's election in September 2013.

In 2014 alone, an upgraded "Special Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century" was announced, a Japan-Australia economic partnership agreement was signed and the Japan-Australia Defense Cooperation Office was established in the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.