Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 | 12:51 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 | 12:51 | SYDNEY

Japan and Australia: Approaching agendas


Malcolm Cook

4 May 2009 13:01

Last week, yet again, Australia’s front pages were dominated by divergences, apparent and real, between Australia and China. Alas, this meant that the good news about Japan-Australia relations was largely ignored (except by The Age). On April 30, Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone arrived in Melbourne, marking the first visit by a senior Japanese cabinet minister since before the election of the Rudd government.

Not only was this a welcome sign that Japan is taking its 'comprehensive strategic relationship' with Australia seriously, but just before the trip, Nakasone announced Japan’s '11 benchmarks for global nuclear disarmament' that fits well with and briefly mentions the Australia-Japan chaired International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

While here, Nakasone also asked for Australia’s help with a new regional community (no not the Asia-Pacific Community), the Pacific Environment Community, to help tackle the effects of climate change in the vulnerable South Pacific.

The visit by Nakasone and these Japanese policy pronouncements show how much the global policy agendas of Japan and Australia are focussed on very similar challenges and responses. For more information about these approaching global agendas and an explanation for why it took the Japanese foreign minister so long to come down under, please read a new report, supported by the Australia-Japan Foundation, I co-wrote with Andrew Shearer.