Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Australia-Japan Defense Pact

Somehow, without any fuss or much public discussion, Japan is about to sign a defense cooperation agreement with a country other than the United States.

Canberra to sign security deal with Japan

Japan and Australia has (sic) preparing to sign a defence and security agreement. Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says it won't have the status of a treaty, and Beijing should not be upset, because the security deal is not aimed at containment of China.
Audio and a transcript from ABC Radio Australia can be found here.

Unless my recollection and news reports are mistaken Japan has never signed anything even remotely resembling this agreement with any other country but the U.S. in the postwar era.

What do the Chinese think of this development?

What are the limits of the activities upon which Japan and Australia are agreeing cooperate?

More importantly, where is the public examination of this concept? The press seems bizarrely silent about what is a history-busting accord. A peremptory Google News search reveals this one analysis on the Chugoku Shimbun's and other regional newspapers's websites.

日豪が安保行動計画 PKOや対北朝鮮想定


The Gaimushō's web page on Australia (English version here) makes no mention of any pending agreement. The only indication of movement on the security side is the statement of principles from Prime Ministers Howard and Abe's side meeting at APEC in November (Japanese only). Foreign Ministers Downer and Aso's joint statement (Japanese version here) from last March makes no mention of a formal agreement or a timetable for discussions.

What is going on here? And why is no one pouncing on this...this...not-a-quite-treaty-but-more-than-just-a-pipedream thingy?

1 comment:

The French reader said...

Actually, if my memory isn't doing so bad, Mister Abe, in his well-known best-seller, Utsukushii kuni he, wrote that Japan was in need to enhance its cooperation with countries such as Australia (this time), India (in December) and some few others, including... Turkey! One must expect some little changes in Japan's diplomacy under Abe's reign.