The 166th Tobunken-ASNET Seminar "Australia Japan Strategic Partnership: A new Form of Security Cooperation"

【Date and Time】: 5:30 to 7:00pm,Monday, April 24, 2017

【Venue】: Conference room 303 (3rd floor), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo

【Title】: "Australia Japan Strategic Partnership: A new Form of Security Cooperation"

【Speaker】:Thomas Wilkins (Senior Lecturer, Government and International Relations Department, University of Sydney)

【 Discussant】:Tomohiko SATAKE (Senior Fellow, National Institute for Defense Studies, Ministry of Defense)

【Chairperson】:Yasuhiro MATSUDA (Professor,IASA)


Japan’s current‘special relationship’with Australia is predicated upon a carefully nurtured Strategic Partnership founded upon the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2007, and subsequently augmented. It is especially significant since it established the template that Tokyo has sought to apply to a series of elevated bilateral relationships with other such partners. There are several notable features of the strong security alignment with Australia. First, it has been the easiest to facilitate and attracted bipartisan support in Japan, as in Australia, making it the most successful (‘special’) of Japan’s new security alignments to date. Second, as such, it has served as a type of proving ground’ for a range of new Japanese foreign policy objectives – overseas arms exports, overseas military operations,intelligence sharing, as well as a diplomatic‘demonstration effect’ for historical reconciliation. Third, while the strategic partnership represents a major departure from Japan’ s overreliance upon the US-alliance (‘decentering’) on the one hand, on the other it actually underwrites Japan’s commitment to the US-alliance system (‘re-centering’). This latter process manifesting itself through the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) and contributing to Washington’s policy of ‘connecting’ its various allies more closely into an integrated front. All these factors make the Australian case study a suitable benchmark for comparative analysis with Japan’s other less developed strategic partnerships.