Opening remarks - Australia Japan Leaders' Meeting

22 Oct 2022
Prime Minister
His Excellency Fumio Kishida’s visit to Australia; Australia’s relationship with Japan; strategic partnership with Japan; critical minerals; net zero by 2050; Shinzo Abe; Indo-Pacific

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: I begin, as we do in Australia, by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we're meeting and I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. I'm absolutely delighted to welcome you, Prime Minister, to Australia for our bilateral meeting. Indeed, this is our fourth meeting. And I've only been Prime Minister for five months. But not only are we becoming friends, but today you have become friends with some furry Australians. And it is particularly good to welcome you here to the great city of Perth in the great state of Western Australia, which is the centre of so much of our economic interaction that's so important for both our nations. The level of interaction which we have reflects very much the special strategic partnership that Australia and Japan have. We two countries really matter to each other now more than ever. And it was quite a remarkable beginning to my prime ministership to be able to travel to Tokyo less than 48 hours after our election, and on the very day in which I became Prime Minister. Our relationship is built on mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual interest. It is an economic relationship based upon the fact that Australia remains a reliable and secure partner when it comes to the export of energy to Japan that has been so important for Japan's post-war development. But the relationship is much deeper than an economic one. Because its foundation is on our values of democracy, of human rights and a free and open Indo-Pacific. And that is reflected in the work that we have done through the Quad, which I will be very proud to host in Australia next year. And I hope it is as successful as your hosting of the Quad Meeting was in Tokyo just a few months ago. Those values are reflected in our signatures today to the upgraded and renewed Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, to upgrade this partnership over the coming decade. We are important security partners, but we're also important energy partners. And it is now 65 years ago since we signed the Commerce Agreement in Hakone, in the shadows of Mount Fuji. And ever since then, our resources trade has helped both of our countries to prosper. And I thank you for accepting the invitation to meet, particularly in Perth, which has played such an absolutely critical role in that economic relationship and on the export of resources to Japan. But the changing nature of the global economy and dealing with the challenge of climate change means that some of the shift in that economic relationship will go to new opportunities, particularly in the area of critical minerals, which will be so important for achieving the goal that we share of net zero emissions by 2050. So, this afternoon we will visit the BHP Nickel Refinery in my Resources Minister's electorate down in Rockingham here just south of Perth. As we discussed, it isn't just nickel and cobalt and lithium. It's hydrogen and the other exciting opportunities that we can work together on to achieve our common objectives So, I look forward to today's meeting that is the next step in an even deeper friendship between our two countries. One that I think was underlined by my attendance along with three former Prime Ministers at the memorial service to Shinzo Abe, who was such a great friend of Australia. And on behalf of my country, once again, I pass on our condolences to yourself as Prime Minister, and a dear friend of Abe-san, but also to the people of Japan on the loss due to how it occurred as well, just really underline how tragic that was. Thank you so much, my friend.

HIS EXELLENCY FUMIO KISHIDA, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN: Thank you, Anthony, for your very warm words of welcome. I'd like to express my heartfelt appreciation. In the outset, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the damage caused by large-scale flooding that are happening in the East Coast, including Melbourne. You also touched upon your attendance at the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe. The fact that, Anthony, you visited Japan together with three former Prime Ministers really symbolises the strong relationship between Japan and Australia for which I extend my heartfelt appreciation. I also appreciate the fact that you've welcomed me here in Perth despite that this is taking place on the weekend. Here in Perth, it really symbolises the post-war history of the Japan-Australia partnership in the field of natural resources and energy. Japan and Australia share strategic interests and fundamental values. Under the increasingly severe strategic environment, we have been working together to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific. Through this experience, the bonds that tie Japan and Australia together have become much stronger. And our two countries have become the central pillar of cooperation among like-minded countries, Anthony, as you pointed out, Anthony and I have held meetings almost every month. Based on such a foundation, today, I look forward to deepening our discussions, including on security and defence cooperation, free and open Indo-Pacific and cooperation in the field of natural resources and energy. Through such a discussion, I would like to elevate our special strategic partnership to a new level.