Australia and Japan Agree to Historic Defence Pact

Australia and Japan have signed the long-awaited defence pact on November 17, 2020. The defence pact would enable both the countries to intensify their military cooperation. The defence pact has been signed in the light of rising tensions with China and thus, it would help both the countries to counter China.

Key points

  • This Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was being worked upon by these two countries for the past six years.
  • The pact provides the legal framework for the Australian forces in Japan and Japanese forces in Australia.
  • However, signing of the pact was delayed because of issues over Japan’s death penalty.
  • The signing of the pact was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA)

The Reciprocal Access Agreement is the first agreement of Japan that allow foreign military presence in its sovereign territory since 1960. The RAA signed Status of Forces Agreement with the US in the year 1960 and with Djibouti in the year 2009. The signing of the pact will pave the way to renew Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement.

Significance of the pact

The countries like India, Japan, Australia and US are working under the QUAD grouping. These countries are also involved with each other through various other means. The countries coordinate with each other so as to achieve free and open Indo-Pacific and they primarily aim to reduce and counter the influence of China in the region. So, the deal between Japan and Australia is significant to fulfil their aim.