Australian Government coat of arms

Prime Minister of Australia

The Hon Tony Abbott MP

Japan-Australia summit meeting

07 April 2014

Prime Minister

JOINT PRESS RELEASE WITH PRIME MINISTER ABE ON JAPAN-AUSTRALIA SUMMIT MEETING

1. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, as an official guest of the Government of Japan held a summit meeting on 7 April 2014. The two leaders confirmed their intention to further strengthen the long-standing friendship and elevate the strategic partnership between Japan and Australia to a new special relationship, based on common values and interests including democracy, human rights, the rule of law, open markets and free trade. They also confirmed the continued importance of the bilateral economic partnership to both sides, and underlined shared strategic interests in regional and international peace, stability and prosperity. Prime Minister Abe appreciated Prime Minister Abbott’s invitation to visit Australia as an official guest of government as early as possible.

Economic relations

2. The two leaders confirmed the substantive agreement on a bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the most significant economic accord between the two countries since the 1957 Agreement on Commerce, which will create significant new trade and investment opportunities in the two countries. They confirmed that they would proceed with work to sign the EPA as early as possible.

3. The two leaders discussed their cooperation in establishing new economic frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region. They emphasised the significant potential benefits of a high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in cutting trade barriers and harmonising trade rules across the region, and called for redoubled efforts to conclude the TPP negotiations.

4. They also discussed negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and shared views on the positive contribution RCEP could make in driving regional economic integration and liberalisation.

5. The two leaders underlined the continued importance of stable and secure trade and investment in mineral and energy resources including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal at competitive prices based on market principles, and looked forward to continued expansion in the commercial relationship in fields such as agriculture, food and services. The two leaders also noted the importance of endeavours towards utilising highly efficient coal-fired power generation technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They acknowledged the mutual benefits of Japanese investment in Australia over many decades, and reaffirmed their commitment to policies conducive to continued growth and diversification in two-way investment, including by reducing impediments to investment in both directions.

6. Prime Minister Abbott welcomed the significant potential for the Japanese Government’s economic reform agenda to revitalise Japan’s economy and contribute to stronger global growth. Prime Minister Abe welcomed the Australian Government’s drive to improve business and investment conditions, including through tax reform and deregulation. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of initiatives to increase work place participation, particularly participation in the workforce by women.

7. The two leaders underscored the G20’s continuing central role in supporting global economic recovery through concrete actions to promote growth and employment, including through freer trade and stronger infrastructure. They expressed their commitment to advocate internationally the benefits of domestic structural reform in boosting private-sector capacity, productivity and employment.

Security and defence cooperation

8. Prime Minister Abbott welcomed Japan’s recent efforts on its security policy from the perspective of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. They reaffirmed the importance of strong U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed their strong support for the U.S. rebalance. They also confirmed their intention to strengthen trilateral security cooperation.

9. The two leaders affirmed their intention to elevate the bilateral security and defence relationship to a new level, building on the 2007 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and reflecting the recent growth in defence cooperation. The two leaders discussed the importance of further expanding combined defence training through improved interoperability between the two countries’ defence organisations. In this regard, they tasked Foreign and Defence Ministers, at their next ‘2+2’ consultations in Tokyo in June this year, to develop recommendations for Prime Ministerial consideration to enhance practical bilateral defence cooperation.

10. The two leaders committed to deepening cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, peacekeeping and capacity building. Prime Minister Abbott welcomed Japan’s contribution to the cooperative international search effort for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

11. The two leaders noted the two countries’ complementary strengths and shared interests in cooperation on defence science, technology and equipment, and decided to commence negotiations towards a framework agreement in this field. They instructed 2+2 Ministers to oversee joint research on marine hydrodynamics as an initial area of science and technology cooperation.

12. The two leaders decided to establish a bilateral cyber-policy dialogue to address common cyber threats and discuss ways to strengthen regional and international cooperation. They also discussed the importance of enhancing cooperation in other fields such as space security.

13. Prime Minister Abbott welcomed Japan’s willingness to send a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel to participate in the Albany Convoy Commemorative Event in late 2014, which will mark the centenary of the departure of the first convoy of ships, escorted by the HIJMS Ibuki that carried ANZAC forces to World War I.

People-to-people exchanges

14. The two leaders renewed their commitment to promote exchanges between the Japanese and Australian people, so as to deepen mutual understanding and underpin further growth in the economic relationship. They welcomed the first tranche of Australian students studying in Japan under the pilot phase of Australia’s New Colombo Plan (NCP), and announced the establishment of a Japan-Australia Friends of the New Colombo Plan group to support and coordinate implementation of the NCP in Japan (attachment).

Regional and international issues

15. The two leaders confirmed the important contribution of regional forums in fostering a regional order based on accepted norms of behaviour, open institutions, free trade, constructive security cooperation, and a shared commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes. They expressed their commitment to cooperating in strengthening the strategic, political and economic roles of the East Asia Summit, and to working together in the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum. They emphasised shared regional interests in ensuring and maintaining peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded trade and freedom of air and sea navigation. They reaffirmed their longstanding shared view that international disputes and issues should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law rather than by force or coercion.

16. The two leaders confirmed that Australia and Japan would endeavour to enhance cooperation for economic development, peace and stability in the Pacific region. They affirmed that such cooperation could include support to Pacific Island countries in the fields of sustainable development, economic independence, defence capacity-building and diplomatic cooperation. They confirmed their intention to work closely together to support free and fair elections in Fiji, and to support, in consultation with the government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, peace and development in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

17. The two leaders discussed and shared views on a range of regional and international issues, notably situations surrounding North Korea, including its nuclear and missile issues as well as the abductions issue, Syria, Ukraine, United Nations Security Council reform, and non-proliferation and disarmament. The two Prime Ministers looked forward to working together again at the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November.

ATTACHMENT :

 

JAPAN’S SUPPORT FOR THE NEW COLOMBO PLAN

Launch of Japan-Australia Liaison Meeting for the New Colombo Plan

(“Japan-Australia Friends of the New Colombo Plan”)

The Government of Japan welcomes the New Colombo Plan, an initiative by the Government of Australia, which will support Australian university students to study in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan. Upon the occasion of the Japan-Australia summit meeting on 7 April 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced to launch a bilateral liaison meeting (alias “Japan-Australia Friends of the New Colombo Plan”) to assist smooth implementation of the Plan.

1. Japan-Australia Friends of the New Colombo Plan will hold meetings for the following objectives:

  • To share and exchange information amongst relevant agencies and bodies on the progress of implementation of the New Colombo Plan in Japan.
  • To address and coordinate issues and impediments in the context of Japan’s domestic rules and practice, if any, in the course of the implementation of the New Colombo Plan, when necessary.
  • To discuss and advise on the further implementation of the New Colombo Plan, if suitable.

2. The Friends of the New Colombo Plan will be co-chaired by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Australia in Japan, and attended by relevant departments from the following Japanese Ministries and bodies. Other entities may be invited when necessary.

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Other Ministries, when necessary