Japan, Australia eye accord to facilitate joint military exercises

Japan, Australia eye accord to facilitate joint military exercises
Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) soldiers travelling in a rubber boat on the sea approach Eniyabanare Island from JSDF transport vessel Shimokita during a military drill. Japan and Australia are considering signing a bilateral agreement, which will facilitate mutual visits by the Self-Defense Forces and the Australian military for disaster relief cooperation and joint military exercises.

Japan and Australia are considering signing a bilateral agreement, which will facilitate mutual visits by the Self-Defence Forces and the Australian military for disaster relief cooperation and joint military exercises, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

According to sources, Japan and Australia will likely conclude the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which Japan so far has not signed with any country.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Australia on Tuesday to hold a summit meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. They will discuss about the agreement and issue a joint statement on security cooperation.

The government has already begun coordination between relevant ministries and agencies on a legal framework, for example, to allow the Australian military to bring firearms and ammunition into the country.

The VFA between Japan and Australia, if concluded, will make it easier for the SDF, the US military stationed in Japan and the Australian military to hold joint exercises in Japan.

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