HomeWorldJapanese PM Fumio Kishida meets his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese this weekend

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida meets his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese this weekend

Defense and energy security will be at the center of discussions when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese this weekend, officials from both countries said. “Australia is the most important country for Japan’s energy policy,” Kishida told reporters in Tokyo on Friday before boarding a plane to Perth. “I want to have honest discussions about the importance of ensuring a stable supply of energy resources.”

Several Australian state leaders have called for local gas production to be prioritized in the domestic market to avoid blackouts. Australia is a major supplier of iron ore, coal and gas to Japan and the meeting will be held in the Western Australian capital, 3,700 km (2,300 miles) from the capital Canberra, to showcase the state’s importance in supplying Japan’s energy needs, including renewable energy . It is also a key source of beef and wheat for Japan.

Australia and Japan are expected to sign a new security cooperation agreement that will update a pact made in 2007 to respond to a vastly changed regional security environment, officials said. In a series of interviews with Australian newspapers this week, Japan’s ambassador to Australia Shingo Yamagami flagged agreements on intelligence sharing and military interoperability between the allies and pointed to China as a catalyst.

“We have to respond to the deteriorating security environment not only in the South China Sea (and) the East China Sea, but in the entire Pacific region,” he told . “Whenever Chinese military aircraft approach our skies, we have to fight against approaching Chinese aircraft. In 2006, there were only 22. But in 2021, the number has shot up to 722,” he said.

Leaders will seek to strengthen the two nations’ defense and security partnership after a mutual access agreement was signed in January for defense forces to operate and train together, the Australian government said in a statement. As well as being Australia’s biggest exporter of iron ore and coal, Japan is looking to Australia to support its energy transition by supplying liquefied hydrogen and ammonia, which it uses as fuel in coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“As Australia strives to become a clean energy superpower, we will remain a stable and reliable supplier of energy to Japan, including new energy sources such as hydrogen,” Albanese said in a statement this week. Australia and Japan are also members of the Quad with the United States and India.

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