Japan-Australia Foreign Ministers' Meeting
May 17, 2012
On Thursday, May 17, from 6:30 pm, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a signing ceremony on the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of Australia on the Security of Information (Japan-Australia Information Security Agreement) with Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia, and subsequently held a foreign ministers' meeting for approximately 30 minutes, and after a joint press conference following the meeting, Minister Gemba held a working dinner with Minister Carr for approximately 80 minutes. An overview is as follows:
At the beginning, Minister Gemba expressed his cordial welcome to Foreign Minister Carr on his first visit to Japan since he was appointed, and also expressed his gratitude for Australia's heartfelt support, which is still ongoing, for the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. In response, Foreign Minister Carr stated that he was pleased to visit Japan, which is the most intimate nation to Australia in Asia, so soon after taking office. He also stated that Japan and Australia are partners who face various issues in common related to security, economy, and efforts to solve regional problems.
Minister Gemba stated that Japan and Australia are strategic partners who share values and profits and that Japan would like to further promote security cooperation with Australia. Moreover, Minister Gemba stated that he welcomed the rotational deployment of the U.S. forces in northern Australia. Both ministers welcomed the signing of the Japan-Australia Information Security Agreement and confirmed the importance of deepening bilateral security cooperation between Japan and Australia as well as trilateral security cooperation between Japan, Australia, and the United States, which includes the utilization of the agreement. Moreover, both ministers shared the view that they would make efforts for the early opening of Japan-Australia Foreign Ministers' and Defense Authorities' Meeting (2 + 2).
With regard to the Japan-Australia economic relationship, Minister Gemba stated that economic coordination is important for Japan to grow and that he hopes that Australia will continue to hold a positive attitude toward discussion regarding Japan's participation in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP). Both ministers shared the view that it will be important for Japan and Australia to make efforts for a high-quality Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two countries. Foreign Minister Carr promised that Australia would provide Japan with the energy and natural resources necessary for Japan in the future and expressed his expectations for an economically strong Japan.
Furthermore, both ministers exchanged views on Pacific Island countries, North Korea, China, Myanmar, situation in the Middle East (Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan), nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and cooperation in the United Nations.
Foreign Minister Gemba expressed his gratitude for Australia's cooperation for the 6th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM6) and Foreign Minister Carr appreciated Japan's proactive contribution to this region. The Ministers agreed to continue close cooperation between Japan and Australia for the restoration of democracy in Fiji, which has been ruled by a military government.
Concerning the situation in North Korea, both foreign ministers welcomed the Presidential statement of the UN Security Council which included strong denunciation and warning. The Ministers shared the view that China should play an important role for the prevention of further provocative actions by North Korea. In addition, the Ministers exchanged views on China's development and the benefits that would bring to the region. Minister Gemba requested Australia's understanding and cooperation concerning the abduction issue, and Foreign Minister Carr stated that he is well aware of the abduction issue and that Australia would like to cooperate as much as it can.
Concerning Myanmar, Minister Gemba referred to his visit to the country last December as well as the Japan-Mekong Summit in April and explained that Japan was determined to play a leading role in supporting Myanmar's efforts for reformation. In response, Foreign Minister Carr explained Australia's policies toward Myanmar, such as those for the relaxation of regulations, and the Ministers shared the view that they will continue to cooperate closely on this issue.
Concerning the situation in the Middle East, both foreign ministers exchanged opinions on Syria and Iran. Regarding Afghanistan, Minister Gemba pointed out that there were three major issues: public security; development; and integration. He explained that he would like to discuss methods for the sustainable development of Afghanistan at the next Tokyo conference on Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Carr explained Australia's support for Afghanistan and the Ministers shared the view that they would continue to cooperate closely on the issue.
Concerning the Non Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), the Ministers shared the view that they would continue close cooperation for the rejuvenation of the framework, as it was led by Japan and Australia. In addition, both foreign ministers shared the view that they would strengthen Japan-Australia cooperation in the United Nations, including in the Security Council.
- (*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
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