Australia and Japan have signed a new treaty that will enable greater cooperation during military exercises and disaster relief operations.
Prime minister Scott Morrison and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida signed the Reciprocal Access Agreement on Thursday during a virtual summit after Kishida cancelled a visit to Australia amid rising Omicron cases in Japan.
The treaty, which has been negotiated over a number of years, will allow each country to deploy military forces from the other’s facility.
The nations say the move is part of a shared commitment to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two leaders also confirmed information-sharing and cooperation would occur between the Japan Coast Guard and Australia’s Department of Home Affairs on maritime awareness.
Morrison said the treaty was a new chapter in defence cooperation between Australia and Japan that dealt with “a new and even more challenging environment, particularly within the Indo-Pacific”.
“This complements the suite of defence, security and partnership agreements that our government has been building over the last three years to keep Australians safe, and to keep our region secure,” he said.
The treaty is the first Reciprocal Access Agreement Japan has signed with any country.
Australia also launched a Clean Hydrogen Trade Program with an initial $150 million commitment that will start with exporting clean hydrogen to Japan.
“This will accelerate the development of an Australian export hydrogen industry which can be a supplier of choice for Japan and the region,” Morrison said.
“When Osaka hosts the World Expo in 2025, Australia will be there to showcase the best of Australian ingenuity and innovation.”
Japan also signed a defence research and development agreement with the US on Friday.