The Abbott government has decided to more closely align itself with Japan, including on defence technology, at a point when the Japanese government’s abandonment of the country’s deeply pacifist post-war stance on defence is worrying its neighbours.
The Australian government is right to do so: as a liberal democracy, Japan shares many important political and economic values with us. It remains a vital trading partner and source of investment for Australia. Closer cooperation, including on defence, is in Australia’s national interest no matter how much it upsets Beijing or those apologists for China who participate in domestic debate here. And that national interest forms the strategic context for the Prime Minister’s meeting with his Japanese counterpart and the latter’s historic address to Parliament yesterday.