• Sat
  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:38pm

Australia supports Japan's drive to expand use of its military

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 4:48am

Australia yesterday backed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to expand the use of his country's military, hailing it as a "more normal defence posture", a day after Tokyo and Canberra stepped up ties.

Shinzo Abe is pushing to reinterpret Japan's strict pacifist constitution to allow its well-equipped armed forces to fight in defence of an ally, something currently barred.

But he faces opposition at home from those attached to the decades-old constitutional ideal, as well as criticism from China, which accuses him of seeking to remilitarise Japan.

"Australia can see great benefits to our country and to our region, should Japan continue to play a greater constructive role in global and regional peace and security," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in Tokyo.

Referring to military cooperation in past peacekeeping operations in Iraq, South Sudan and other countries, Bishop said: "Any decision by Japan to exercise that right to collective self-defence would only help our cooperation grow stronger."

Video: Japan, Australia eye closer military ties, talk submarines wary of China

The comments came hours after Bishop, together with Defence Minister David Johnston, met their respective opposite numbers in Japan, Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera, and agreed to step up their alliance.

Japan and Australia agreed on Wednesday to jointly develop stealth submarine technology, a top item at talks among the nations' foreign and defence ministers in Tokyo. Johnson brushed off suggestions that Australia, Japan and the US were looking to control the Asia Pacific region, saying humanitarian and disaster relief operations were the ultimate aim of collaborations.

"We have a very close and productive relationship with China and I will be in China later this year ... discussing many of the issues that we've also discussed here," he said.

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Like the other Allied personnel captured by the Japanese, most of the thousands of Australians captured in the first months of 1942 during the conquest of Malaya and Singapore, the NEI and New Guinea were held in harsh conditions. Australians were held in camps across the Asia-Pacific region and many endured long voyages in grossly overcrowded ships. While most of the Australian POWs who died in Japanese captivity were the victim of deliberate malnutrition and disease, hundreds were deliberately killed by their guards. The Burma-Thai Railway was the most notorious of the prisoner of war experiences, as 13,000 Australians worked on it at various times during 1942 and 1943 alongside thousands of other Allied POWs and Asians conscripted by the Japanese; nearly 2,650 Australians died there. Thousands of Australian POWs were also sent to the Japanese home islands where they worked in factories and mines in generally harsh conditions. The POWs held in camps at Ambon and Borneo suffered the highest death rates; 77 percent of those at Ambon died and few of the 2,500 Australian and British prisoners in Borneo survived; almost all were killed by overwork and a series of death marches in 1945. - wikipedia
These Oz are clueless...


SCMP.com Account