Doorstop Interview - Tokyo, Japan

27 Sep 2022
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s funeral; visit to Japan; Optus data breach; bilateral meetings; AUKUS; Quad Leaders

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: It is a great honour for me to be here in Tokyo to pay tribute to the life of Shinzo Abe. The tragic circumstances of his assassination are something that reverberated around the world. I'm here with three former prime ministers, Prime Minister Howard, Prime Minister Abbott and Prime Minister Turnbull. What that says is how important the relationship between Australia and Japan is. It also says how important the respect is, and the standing Shinzo Abe had. His leadership in the formation of the Quad that is so important between Australia, Japan, the United States and India, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific is critical as well. And I was pleased this morning to have bilateral meetings during my visit with Prime Minister Kishida. We have met now on three occasions here, in Tokyo, just days after my election as Prime Minister of Australia, but also, we had a shared platform at the NATO Summit in Madrid just a short while after as part of the AP-4, the Asia-Pacific Four, Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, showing once again how important the relationships are in this region, in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, and also the partnership that is important in terms of our support for democracy in the region.

JOURNALIST: More than 60 Australian parents say children had been kidnapped in Japan. Did you raise this issue with Prime Minister Kishida?

PRIME MINISTER: No, but I am very conscious of this issue. And the Australian Embassy here continues to provide consular system. This is an issue that relates, of course, to Japanese law. But we will continue to provide support and assistance when requested.

JOURNALIST: Do you still have confidence in the Optus CEO given how they have handled this hacking scandal?

PRIME MINISTER: I have a policy of not making comments on domestic issues. Clare O’Neil, our Home Affairs Minister, is handling this issue. This is obviously a very serious issue which Clare O'Neil has made clear and unequivocal statements of the Government and will continue to act as necessary.

JOURNALIST: Did you have any discussions with the US Vice President of possible acceleration of the US submarine program? And have you seen reports that suggest this could happen?

PRIME MINISTER: The US Vice President and I discussed our relations, including the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, our joint cooperation through the Quad Leaders’ meeting, through our alliance, through AUKUS, and of course, next year, I will be hosting, in Australia, the Quad Leaders’ meeting. We will continue to engage. AUKUS is important. And the relationship between Australia and the United States and the United Kingdom is, of course, a long one and a deep one. And we will continue to engage on those issues. Thanks very much.