Coat of arms

Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Senator for South Australia

Media Release
6 January 2022

Japan-Australia RAA Strengthens Commitment

Today marks the signing of a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between Japan and Australia in a virtual bilateral meeting between Japanese Prime Minister His Excellency Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison.

As Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Senator the Hon David Fawcett welcomes the establishment of the new agreement between our two nations, further strengthening our close partnership.

“The Australia-Japan relationship is one of our closest bilateral relationships in Asia and is fundamental to both countries’ strategic and economic interests – underpinned by shared values, aligned visions for the region, complementary economies, and longstanding people-to-people links,” Senator Fawcett said.

“The RAA is Japan’s only Reciprocal Status of Forces Agreement and only the second major defence agreement Japan has signed, demonstrating the significance of our relationship.”

“As part of our existing Special Strategic Partnership, Australia and Japan have a broad, deep and growing relationship that aims to contribute to a prosperous, free, open, inclusive, secure and stable Indo-Pacific region – a region which is experiencing the most consequential strategic realignment in almost 80 years.”

“Alongside India and the US as part of the Quad partnership, Australia and Japan share a commitment to support the Indo-Pacific region. Focussed on our region, the RAA complements the recently established AUKUS partnership, as well as Australia’s Comprehensive and Strategic Partnerships with our ASEAN neighbours.”

“The RAA facilitates greater and more complex practical engagement between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces – enhancing our interoperability and cooperation, and supporting our joint involvement in broader multilateral exercises. The agreement will facilitate further joint exercises, disaster relief, and defence force interoperability – building on the strong defence co-operation we currently share. Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019, Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 and Exercise Malabar 2021 are examples of our recent coordination through joint defence exercises.”

“Australia and Japan also have a history of coordination in disaster relief and crisis response including activities after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, among others. Following Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Australia provided assistance including $10 million to relief appeals and a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 aircraft to assist with logistics, among other assistance. During the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, Japan provided assistance through two C-130 aircraft. These demonstrate our two nations have a relationship founded on trust, common values, and respect.”