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Dangerous Australia-Japan agreement emerges

Written by: (Contributed) on 6 January 2022


Confirmation in early January of a major defence and security agreement between Australia and Japan has formed part of a US-led plan to upgrade the role of its two regional hubs for future military operations. (1) It is linked to the Pentagon military plan, 'the Indo-Pacific Strategy' which consists of a re-organisation of military alliances to challenge China as a serious competitor to US traditional hegemonic positions. (2)

The Indo-Pacific Strategy has a framework linked to the combined military capacities of the US, Japan, India and Australia, the so-called 'Quad'. (3)

The moves have also included Japan 're-defining' Clause Nine of its pacifist constitution to allow its military to act 'when the US or countries US forces are defending are threatened'. (4) It effectively replaces guidelines restricting Japan's military to defence of their own sovereignty by eliminating geographical boundaries for exercises and combat anywhere; it was accompanied by the incoming Kishada administration in Tokyo doubling Japan's military budget last year, increasing their annual military spending to US$100 billion.

The new strategy has included the US requiring closer military and security relationships between Australia and Japan. The so-called Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), has been under negotiation since 2014 and is a centrepiece of triangular diplomatic relations between the US, Japan and Australia. While negotiations have stumbled on various points of controversy including disciplinary procedures for Australian military personnel in Japan, both countries 'militaries have in recent years increased co-operation and exercise activities'. (5) It has also been noted that 'this will certainly increase our interoperability'. (6)

The notion of interoperability has been a commonly discussed term in recent years; the Pentagon want to centralise their control over regional operations through other country's military facilities. Interoperability, however, is not solely confined to compatibility with electronic warfare equipment and its capacity.

Part of the RAA has also included a formal 'visiting forces agreement … to facilitate joint military exercises'. (7) It will also to include, 'access to each other’s military facilities, secure port access, landing rights, logistic support, security arrangements and legal regimes, we should expect there will be an expansion of practical military co-operation'. (8) Some of the listed criteria have direct implications for civil society, raising serious questions about security vetting procedures for ordinary working people and their relations with other family members. It has also been noted Japan is seeking to rotate their so-called Self Defence Force personnel 'in significant numbers, exercising and training with their Australian counterparts and the US Marines out of Darwin'. (9)

The US already has an estimated 50,000 military personnel based in Japan as part of a larger capacity of 375,000 personnel under their Indo-Pacific Command. (10)

The recent military deal has been established to 'make it easier for armed forces personnel to travel between the two countries … and … smooth the way for joint drills by Japan, the US and Australia to be held in Japan'. (11) Reference in official Defence media releases have also revealed Australian military use of Japanese facilities for 'our Special Forces … to … exercise together with working with South-east Asian partners'. (12)

The recent high-level diplomatic visit to Australia of ROK President Moon Jae-in in early December and the later statements from official Taiwanese security personnel in early January, likewise, formed part of the concerted US military plan to make use of Australian facilities. (13) Both the ROK and Taiwan form important component parts with the US-led GSOMIA regional defence and security plan 'with others … as lower level partners'. (14)

References in official media releases about fears of 'Washington's isolationist mood' and the implications for both Australia and Japan should perhaps, however, be viewed more realistically in an alternative framework. (15) A 2018 US congressional committee commissioned to study the threat of China to US regional positions of dominnce, for example, concluded 'the US is no longer clearly superior' and 'the study recommends further relying upon traditional allies, including Japan and Australia'. (16) The US has, increasingly, been out-manoeuvred by China's softer-style diplomacy and involvement in regional trade blocs and have had to resort to pushing Australia and Japan into the forefront of their regional military planning. (17)

The US-led planning for the Australia-Japan defence deal would appear to have taken place behind the scenes with extensive pressure from Washington and the Pentagon for them to comply with regional foreign policy for the defence and security of 'US interests'. Both countries are dominated by pro-US sycophants: it has, however, been glossed over to prevent unfavourable publicity and questions being raised in Australia and Japan about the very real likelihood of war. A statement from Canberra, for example, referred to the agreement as 'a pivotal moment' without any reliable background information. (18)

Before US-led initiatives to further militarise the Indo-Pacific region is responsible for real-war hostilities:
                                        We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     Japanese to sign defence treaty, Australian, 4 January 2022; and, Japan, Australia seal defence ties, Australian, 5 January 2022.
2.     The reasons behind Washington's push for GSOMIA., Hankyoreh, 12 November 2019.
3.     Ibid.
4.     Japan to extend military reach beyond self-defence, The Age (Melbourne), 29 April 2015.
5.     Japan, Australia to sign defence deal, Australian, op.cit., 5 January 2022.
6.     Ibid.
7.     Ibid.
8.     Deeper ties with Japan send strong message to China, Australian, 5 January 2022.
9.     Ibid.
10.   Website: USINDOPACOM., Official Statistics, Pentagon, 2022.
11.   Japanese to sign defence deal, Australian, op.cit., 4 January 2022.
12.   Deeper ties, Australian, op.cit., 5 January 2022.
13.   Pact for nuclear-powered submarines 'has Beijing rattled', Australian, 4 January 2022.
14.   The reasons behind Washington's push for GSOMIA., Hankyoreh, op.cit., 12 November 2019.
15.   Deeper ties, Australian, op.cit., 5 January 2022.
16.   Study: US no longer dominant power in the Pacific, Paul D. Shinkman, Information Clearing House, 22 August 2019.
17.   See: Closer ties with APEC members, China Daily, 8 December 2021, which has provided information about China and their regional diplomacy with trade statistics.
18.   Japan shores up bilateral alliance,  Editorial,  Australian, 5 January 2022.


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