Reciprocal Access Agreement

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Media statement
17 Nov 2020
Prime Minister

Australia and Japan have reached in principle agreement on a landmark defence treaty that will further deepen the countries’ strategic and security relationship.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement represents a pivotal moment in the history of Japan-Australia ties.

We share a Special Strategic Partnership and are deeply committed to working together in support of a free, open, inclusive and stable Indo-Pacific. 

Our partnership is built on shared values and interests, and enduring trust and respect. 

This agreement paves the way for a new chapter of advanced defence cooperation between our two countries. 

The only other such agreement that Japan has struck with another country is with the United States 60 years ago. 

It will facilitate greater and more complex practical engagement between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and enhance our inter-operability and cooperation.  This will also support our joint involvement in broader multilateral exercises.

It means Australia and Japan will have a clear framework for how our defence forces operate in each other’s countries. 

From joint military training exercises through to natural disaster and humanitarian support, the RAA establishes streamlined arrangements to support the deployment of defence forces more quickly and with less administration.

The Australian and Japanese militaries have in recent years increased cooperation and exercise activities. These have enhanced our ability to work together towards our common security objectives in the Indo Pacific region and our military interoperability. In principle agreement on the RAA will only see that grow.

The significance of the RAA cannot be understated. 

It will form a key plank of Australia’s and Japan’s response to an increasingly challenging security environment in our region amid more uncertain strategic circumstances. 

As we finalise the RAA I thank the work done by my predecessors as well as by former Japanese Prime Minister Abe across six years of negotiations.