When Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets with his Australian colleague Anthony Albanese this weekend, defence and energy security will be the main topics of discussion, according to officials from the two countries.
Before boarding a flight for Perth on Friday, Kishida told reporters in Tokyo that ‘Australia is the most essential country for Japan’s energy policy. I want to have open debates about how crucial it is to guarantee a steady supply of energy resources.’
To prevent shortages, a number of Australian state governors have urged that local gas production should be prioritised for the home market.
The meeting will be held in the capital of Western Australia, 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) from Canberra, to highlight the state’s significance in supplying Japan’s energy needs, including renewable energy. Australia is a major supplier of iron ore, coal, and gas to Japan. Additionally, it is Japan’s main supply of beef and wheat.
In response to a substantially changing regional security situation, Australia and Japan are also likely to sign a new security cooperation agreement, upgrading a pact inked in 2007.
In a series of interviews with Australian newspapers this week, Japan’s ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, mentioned agreements on intelligence sharing and military cooperation between the allies, blaming China as the impetus.