Australia's relationship with Japan has grown from one based on trade to one where mutual military cooperation is vital for the region's security.
Australia’s trade relationship with Japan dates back to 1957 when Prime Ministers Nobusuke Kishi and Sir Robert Menzies agreed that Australia would supply natural resources to Japan. Ironically, half a century later, Kishi’s grandson—former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—would strengthen that trade relationship even further by forging an advanced form of free trade agreement between the two countries. But in the 21st century, the relationship between Australia and Japan goes much deeper. The two countries share close security ties that are vital for the region and each other. Another of Abe’s achievements was creating the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), where Indo-Pacific security should be the responsibility of a ‘diamond’ consisting of Australia, India, Japan and the US. As seen from Tokyo, Australia is a pillar of democracy—perhaps even more so than Australians realise. Australia is both a Pacific and an Indian Ocean power, and that is where its unique value lies.