Remarks - Tokyo, Japan

17 Nov 2020
Tokyo, Japan
Prime Minister

Prime Minister Suga [delivered via translator]: My heartfelt compliments to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. I have the honour to greet Prime Minister Morrison as my first guest to meet in person in Japan, [inaudible]. 

Japan and Australia are special strategic partners, sharing fundamental values, such as the commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, rule of law and others, as well as a strategic interest of all of our countries to work together to realise that a free and open Indo-Pacific region. 

In the Indo-Pacific region, the security and defence cooperation between Japan and Australia, having the will and capacity to contribute to regional stability are becoming increasingly important.

Under this banner I hereby announce that on this occasion we have reached an agreement in principle on our Reciprocal Access Agreement that we have been closing, that elevates from Security and Defence cooperation to a new level.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement firmly underpins the determination of both Japan and Australia to contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. 

We have just signed the Japan Australia Leaders’ meeting statement, further reinforcement of financial co-operations in the areas of security, defence cooperation, economy, and others are enshrined in this statement and indeed I wish to strengthen Japan-Australia collaboration even further.

In the area of the economy we welcome the signing of RCEP and I concur that the collaboration between our two countries [inaudible]. But furthermore to continue our cooperation in steady [inaudible] and expansion of the TPP.

Later tonight at dinner, where we plan to exchange views on others as well, on the respective issues in the region such as dealing with North Korea including the abduction issues, also South China Sea and other matters. I wish to confirm our close collaboration with Prime Minister Morrison.

I look forward to further revitalisation of active engagement of our people at broader levels by collaboration opportunities including next year’s Olympic and Paralympic games and other opportunities.

Thank you very much Prime Minister Morrison.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Thank you Prime Minister, it is a great honour and privilege to be joining you here in Tokyo and to be your first visitor as a nation’s leader, here to both congratulate you on your ascension to the Prime Ministership, but I particularly want to thank you for your very warm welcome today.

Prime Minister, in any relationship first impressions really count and I can assure you the first impressions of us both today I think are very, extremely positive. And I look forward to a very important and very fruitful partnership between us in the years ahead. 

Australia and Japan are Indo-Pacific nations. But more than that, we share a very unique view on the Indo-Pacific. We share a great alliance with the United States, we also share a significant and most significant trading relationship with China, and very strong and positive relationships with all the countries, the nation states of the Indo-Pacific. And believe passionately in each of their sovereignty.

So today, our special strategic partnership became even stronger, in particular because today we've taken a significant step forward in Japan and Australia, reaching an in principle agreement on a landmark Defence treaty, the Reciprocal Access Agreement. 

We respect and appreciate that the only other nation that Japan has entered into such an agreement, which we have now reached in principle agreement on, is the United States some 60 years ago. And so we respect and appreciate the special trust that you placed in us in getting to this important point of our agreement today.

But there was more to discuss than that arrangement today. We have discussed our cooperation in science, technology, on working together for a lower emissions, and zero emissions future, our hydrogen energy supply chain pilot project that will see the first shipment of hydrogen to Japan in March of next year, working together off the base of Australia's lower emissions technology roadmap, working together on the many trade agreements of which we form a partner together, in particular the TPP, as well as the RCEP agreement that was concluded on the weekend. 

As well as working together to reform the World Trade Organisation, working together on the WHO to address the global pandemic that has caused so much suffering and so much economic loss around the world, and in particular working with nations in our own region, be it in the Pacific island states of the Southwest Pacific or the ASEAN nations. When we work together, as we are with many others, in ensuring that the vaccines that can be delivered across all of these countries, hopefully over the course of 2021, to return the world to a greater state of normal than we have known now for some time.

So I look forward to our conversation at dinner this evening in a relaxed atmosphere amongst friends, and I also look forward to in a few months’ time making a presentation to you Prime Minister, as a Sydney-sider, that’s where the Olympics were hosted in the year 2000, we look forward with great enthusiasm to the wonderful Tokyo Olympics that will be held next year. And I present to you, I look forward to presenting, these medals, Gold and Silver, Bronze Medals of the Sydney Olympics to you and to the people of Japan and with you all the very best for the 2021 Tokyo Games.