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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is heading to DownUnder for talks with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese this weekend which will focus on defense and energy security.

“Australia is the most important country for Japan’s energy policy,” Kishida told reporters in Tokyo on Friday before boarding a plane for Perth in Western Australia.

“I want to have candid discussions about the importance of ensuring a stable supply of energy resources.”

Several Australian heads of state have recently called for some local gas production to be diverted to the domestic market to avoid shortages.

However, they are mostly found in eastern states such as Queensland and New South Wales, as a former western prime minister was wise enough to ensure he had a forward supply share of large LNG and gas projects in the north of the country have started.

Australia is a major supplier of iron ore, coal and gas to Japan, and the meeting will be held in Western Australia’s capital, 3,700 km (2,300 miles) from the national capital Canberra, to show the importance of the state in supplying Japan’s energy needs. , including renewable energy. WA is also a key source of beef and wheat for Japan.

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New security agreement

Australia and Japan are expected to sign a new security cooperation agreement, updating a pact struck in 2007, to respond to a significantly changed regional security environment, officials said.

Japan’s Ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, in a series of interviews with Australian newspapers this week, pointed to agreements on intelligence sharing and military interoperability among allies, pointing to China as a catalyst.

“We have to respond to a deteriorating security environment, not just in the South China Sea (and) the East China Sea, but across the Pacific region,” he told the Australian newspaper.

“Whenever Chinese military planes approach our skies, we have to jam the flights against the approaching Chinese planes. The number of jammings in 2006 was only 22. But in 2021, the number has increased at 722,” he said.

Leaders would seek to strengthen the two nations’ defense and security partnership, following the January signing of a reciprocal access agreement allowing defense forces to operate and exercise together, the Australian government said in a statement. a statement.

Beyond Australia’s biggest exports of iron ore and coal, Japan is looking to Australia to support its energy transition, supplying liquefied hydrogen and ammonia, which it uses as fuel in coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“As Australia seeks to become a clean energy superpower, we will remain a stable and reliable energy supplier to Japan, including new energy sources like hydrogen,” Albanese said in a statement this week. .

Australia and Japan are also members of the Quad group of nations, along with the United States and India.

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd newspapers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before touring South East Asia in the late 1990s. leader of The Nation for over 17 years and has a family in Bangkok.


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