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Partnership Agenda Between Australia and Japan

Recognising the breadth of the links and exchanges at all walks of life between Australia and Japan and wishing to promote deeper mutual understanding and cooperation across the diverse range of shared interests in the bilateral, regional and multilateral fields, the Governments of Australia and Japan, pursuant to the 1995 Joint Declaration on the Australia-Japan Partnership, are resolved to take the following actions:

1. Political Dialogue

The Governments of Australia and Japan will continue their cooperative partnership through close dialogue at the highest levels, including through annual meetings of the two Prime Ministers and meetings of the Australia-Japan Ministerial Committee.

2. Security and Defence

Recognising the expanding bilateral security and defence dialogue and the range of defence activities between the two countries and wishing to contribute to the promotion of regional security, the Governments of Australia and Japan will:

  • further develop their security dialogue through annual Politico-Military and Military-Military Talks and senior level visits; and
  • examine ways to increase exchanges between the Australian Defence Forces and the Japan Self Defence Forces in areas of mutual professional interest, including defence education exchanges.

3. Bilateral Economic and Trade Relations

Recognising the strong commercial ties between Australia and Japan and building on the complementarity and growing diversification of their trade, the two Governments will further advance Australia-Japan commercial relations in the following areas:

(a) Promotion and Facilitation of Trade and Investment

The Governments of Australia and Japan will:

  • actively examine the feasibility of developing mutual recognition arrangements on conformity assessment and certification, including by convening a meeting of technical experts in 1997;
  • enhance the existing cooperation in the area of customs to increase the efficiency of customs procedures;
  • continue cooperative arrangements between the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to promote exports to Japan, including improved collaboration on identifying market segments, promotional activities and events in Japan that best meet Australia's capability to supply;
  • cooperate on the electronic transfer of health certification data for meat by establishing an initial pilot program in 1997; and
  • exchange information on structural policy reforms necessary to underpin national productivity and economic growth, and on the contribution that research and institutional arrangements can make to the process of public policy development and community understanding of the benefits of greater productivity in all sectors of the economy.

(b) Deregulation and Competition Policy

In order to develop links between public policy planners, the Government of Australia will examine the feasibility of developing a program for a Japanese-sponsored delegation of administrative reform planners to visit Australia to study the Australian micro-economic reform experience. The Government of Australia will also share its experiences on deregulation of the economy and the role of competition policies by examining the feasibility of holding a Japanese-sponsored seminar in Tokyo, possibly in collaboration with a university in Tokyo.

(c) Tourism

In order to achieve the full potential of the growing tourism between Australia and Japan, the two Governments will facilitate tourism development through holding regular Australia-Japan Tourism Discussions and working together, including with industry, to address perceived barriers to tourism. The Government of Australia will also examine means of further facilitating entry for short-term Japanese visitors.

(d) Housing and Building

In order to contribute to the reduction of housing construction costs in Japan and promote two-way trade in this sector, the two Governments will cooperate to improve mutual access to their markets

  • by promoting the mutual acceptance of test data concerning building materials and mutual recognition on building standards; in this connection, both countries will consider the way to utilise CSIRO as a facilitator; and
  • by exchanges of information on technical, certification and related issues, including performance-based building regulations through meetings of the Japan-Australia Building and Housing Committee.

(e) Energy

Given the central importance of the minerals and energy trade to both Australia and Japan, the two Governments will cooperate to ensure its continued viability. Both Governments affirm thevalue of the Japan-Australia High-Level Group on Energy Forecasts and Energy Resource Development as an important forum for the exchange of information and high-level policy discussion.

(f) Agriculture

In recognition of the diverse and long-standing agricultural partnership that exists between Australia and Japan, the two Governments will continue informal dialogue on agricultural matters of mutual interest, in order to facilitate informal exchanges of views and build enhanced mutual understanding and cooperation.

(g) Employment and Training

Recognising the substantial similarities of the challenges they face, the Governments of Australia and Japan will enhance cooperation through exchanges of government officials and the sharing of information on labour market policies.

(h) Transport

Following the establishment of high-level dialogue at officials level, the two Governments will explore a range of issues, including infrastructure development, airport noise management, liberalisation of the international shipping market, substandard shipping and maritime safety.

4. Science and Technology

With science and technology links between Australia and Japan growing, and recognising the substantial potential for increasing joint activities in this area, the two Governments will explore further opportunities for cooperation in a number of areas, including:

(a) Science and Technology Agreement

Australia and Japan will explore new areas of cooperation under the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of Australia on Cooperation on Research and Development in Science and Technology. In this context, the two Governments will continue to cooperate through the Japan-Australia Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee.

(b) Information Technology

In order to facilitate collaborative research between Australian and Japanese scientists, the Governments of Australia and Japan have confirmed their intention to establish a high-performance computer and communications (HPCC) link between the two countries.

(c) Commercial Application of Scientific Research andDevelopment

Recognising the growing diversification of commercially-based scientific research and development between Australia and Japan, the two Governments will explore increasing the commercial application of scientific research and development through close contact between commercial and scientific research personnel.

(d) Others

The Governments of Australia and Japan will pursue research into cancer and cardiovascular diseases through Australia-Japan collaborative research workshops and personnel exchanges.

5. Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Recognising the growing importance of nuclear energy in regional energy use and the importance of cooperating to ensure nuclear safety in the region, the Governments of Australia and Japan will:

  • cooperate and promote mutual understanding in relation to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy including through high-level discussions under the annual Nuclear Policy Consultations;
  • support each other's efforts to develop an effective dialogue on nuclear energy issues, including within such forums as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (RCA), the International Conference on Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (ICNCA) and successor conferences to the Tokyo Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia held in November 1996; and
  • cooperate in the strengthened and efficient IAEA safeguards system and to ensure the effectiveness of nuclear export controls.

6. Education

Recognising the rapid development of ties in education -characterised by growing numbers of students from each country studying in the other, the increasing number of students and staff exchanges, expanding links between Japanese and Australian education institutions and increased exchanges of government officials - the Governments of Australia and Japan will collaborate further:

  • through sharing information on policies and programs on education;
  • through greater exchanges of personnel in the education sector, including staff of boards of education and school boards, university administrators, students, teachers, academics and government officials; and
  • through increased university-based research and development and expanded exchange of researchers.

7. Industrial Relations

With a view to promoting mutual understanding of respective industrial relations environments, the Governments of Australia and Japan will continue to exchange high-level Tripartite Industrial Relations Delegations between the two countries approximately every three years. Following the last Japanese mission to Australia in November 1995, the Government of Australia will consider sending a Mission to Japan in 1998/99.

8. Cultural Exchanges

Recognising the importance of developing people-to-people contacts, the two Governments will continue their efforts to encourage cultural exchanges, including through the convening of the Australia-Japan Cultural Mixed Commission.

In order to commemorate a number of significant bilateral anniversaries between 1996 and 1998, the two Governments have developed a range of commemorative activities which are symbolically linked through a jointly-developed "Friendship Anniversaries" logo.

9. International Policy Coordination

Building on their close political relationship, the Governments of Australia and Japan will increase the coordination of their policies on key international issues, both in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. In this context, the two Governments will continue to work together in combating the global problem of illicit narcotic drugs through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and criminal issues generally through the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, particularly on measures to regulate firearms.

(a) Narcotics

The Governments of Australia and Japan will continue to cooperate within such multilateral Frameworks as the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the Dublin Group to combat the illicit production of, demand for, and traffic in, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to coordinate approaches to find ways to address this problem.


The Governments of Australia and Japan will continue to cooperate against terrorism within the framework of relevant international agreements to which both are parties.

(c) Money Laundering

Endorsing APEC Joint Ministerial Statements by Finance Ministers which recognise money laundering as a priority concern for the region, the Governments of Australia and Japan will work together to promote the adoption of anti-money laundering measures by countries in the region as well as globally, through the Financial Action Task Force and the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

10. Environment

Given that Australia and Japan have similar interests and concerns in international environment issues, the two Governments will exchange perspectives and cooperate:

  • on approaches to greenhouse gas emissions, including activities implemented jointly and other cooperative activities in the run-up to the third Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997;
  • on the outcomes of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Sustainable Development (UNGASS), and the discussions of the first meeting of the High-Level Committee of Ministers and Officials on the UN Environment Program (UNEP);
  • on biological diversity matters, including biosafety protocol negotiations, and the development of clearing house mechanisms;
  • on protection of coral reefs in South-East Asia and the Pacific under the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), particularly through promoting implementation of the ICRI regional strategies developed for these regions;
  • on approaches to the development of Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs);
  • on regional implementation of the Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities;
  • on the implementation of the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy 1996-2000, with particular respect to the East Asian-Australasian Shorebird Reserve Network;
  • on the Geostationary Meteorological Satellite-5 System project and generally in the area of geostationary satellites carrying out meteorological observations;
  • on the Global Research Network System (GRNS) project to develop indicators of global change and create a human information network to improve global environment management;
  • on the development of the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research;
  • by working together, in cooperation with other countries and the United Nations under the Global Mapping program, to promote the development of world-wide geographic data sets in support of natural disaster mitigation and global environmental and resource management; and
  • by promoting environmental education in the Asia-Pacific Region through the Asia-Pacific Symposium on Environmental Education and other actions on environmental education in this region.

11. Aid Cooperation

(a) Bilateral Cooperation

Recognising the commonality of their aid programs focused on the Asia-Pacific region, and taking account of complementary aspects of their respective aid programs, the Governments of Australia and Japan will strengthen their coordination efforts through regular High-Level Aid Policy Talks. The two Governments will consult on ongoing projects and explore opportunities to identify new joint projects.

(b) Development of the Mekong River Basin

The Governments of Australia and Japan will cooperate for the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin. In this connection, both Governments will continue to work closely in the Forum for Comprehensive Development of Indo-China and note the useful dialogue initiated at the meeting of the Infrastructure Working Committee of the Indo-China Development Forum in September 1996 hosted by Australia and chaired by Japan.

12. Pacific Islands

As Australia and Japan share a common interest in the continuing development of the Pacific Island states, the two Governments will strengthen their dialogue on Pacific issues, including through the Post-South Pacific Forum Dialogue process, and will focus in particular on the management of natural resources; and economic and public management reforms. The two Governments will also cooperate in developing a strong private sector in the Pacific Island countries involving, inter alia, effective cooperation between, and coordination of, activities of the Pacific Islands Centre in Tokyo and the South Pacific Trade Commission in Sydney.

13. Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

The Government of Japan will continue to support firmly Australia's participation in Asia- Europe Meetings.

14. Regional Strategic and Security Cooperation

The Governments of Australia and Japan are committed to building with countries in the region a sense of trust, of shared interest, and of shared responsibility for the region's future.

(a) United States' Contribution to Regional Stability

The Governments of Australia and Japan, in light of the recent re-affirmation of their respective security relationships with the United States, and in joint recognition of the vital contribution the United States makes to underpinning the security of the Asia-Pacific region, will work together to sustain the United States' important regional role. This will be achieved through each country's alliance with the United States and by supporting the constructive participation by the United States in multilateral security dialogues.

(b) ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

Recognising the role regional multilateral security arrangements can play in promoting peace and stability, the Governments of Australia and Japan will:

  • work together to further develop the ARF, including in the area of preventive diplomacy and approaches to conflicts, and to strengthen habits of dialogue, confidence-building and transparency which contribute to a sense of shared strategic and security interest among regional countries;
  • strengthen the substantive agenda of the Inter-sessional Group on Confidence-Building Measures working to achieve practical cooperative defence-related measures, particularly those contributing to increasing defence transparency and the avoidance of a regional arms race;
  • ensure that, consistent with the newly-agreed membership criteria, expansion of the ARF does not detract from its focus on security in the East Asia/Pacific and that all participants are fully consulted on new ARF members;
  • encourage broad participation in ARF processes by defence civilians and military personnel; and
  • encourage the ARF, through its consideration of non-proliferation and disarmament issues, to contribute to global efforts in non-proliferation and disarmament.

15. Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

The Governments of Australia and Japan will continue to work closely in support of global arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation norms, particularly in the area of weapons of mass destruction, including through annual disarmament talks and cooperation in relevant international forums, in the interests of enhanced national and regional security, and will continue their cooperation in promoting adherence to those norms in the Asia-Pacific region.

16. United Nations

(a) UN Reform

Recognising the importance of strengthening the UN and the contribution that Japan can make as a member of the Security Council in 1997-98, the two Governments will cooperate to advance the reforms of the organisation in a balanced manner.

(b) Security Council Reform

The two Governments will work together in such forums as the General Assembly Working Group towards achieving reform of the Security Council, including expansion of permanent membership. In this connection, Australia reconfirms its strong support for Japan's permanent membership of the Security Council.

(c) Financial Reform

Noting that a solid financial base and sound and effective financial management are essential for the UN to cope with the challenges of the 21st century, the Governments of Australia and Japan will promote reforms in financial areas, together with reforms in other areas, in order to achieve in a balanced manner the reform of the UN as a whole.

(d) Development

The Governments of Australia and Japan will cooperate to promote the idea of a new development strategy based on a global partnership of all countries and to advance reform of the UN system by increasing its effectiveness, improving coordination among UN organisations and agencies so that their activities bring about tangible benefits to developing countries.

(e) Economic and Social Council of Asia and the Pacific(ESCAP)

Given ESCAP's special role in the Asia-Pacific region, the Governments of Australia and Japan will work together to avoid a division amongst ESCAP members, while promoting the implementation of a graduated approach to reforming the organisation which is sensitive to the needs of the developing countries in the region.

(f) Human Rights

Recognising that democracy, development and human rights are inter dependent and mutually reinforcing, the Governments of Australia and Japan will promote consultation on human rights issues and explore effective and efficient ways of promoting human rights internationally through UN agencies and other forums, and through support of non-governmental institutions and arrangements.

(g) UN Peacekeeping

The Governments of Australia and Japan will pursue opportunities for cooperation in UN peacekeeping. In particular, the two Governments will explore ways to draw on their experience in UN peacekeeping operations.

17. APEC Issues

The Governments of Australia and Japan, reaffirming their commitment to a number of objectives and goals including achieving the long-term goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region by 2010/2020 as stated at Bogor and in accordance with the Osaka Action Agenda, will work together, inter alia, in the following areas:

(a) Facilitation and Liberalisation of Trade and Investment

The Governments of Australia and Japan will cooperate:

  • to continuously and substantially improve their respective Individual Action Plans (IAPs) by including measures which go beyond respective multilateral and regional commitments, taking into account the private business sector's views and requests;
  • to develop joint APEC initiatives to support and reinforce the multilateral trading system under the WTO;
  • to promote early voluntary sectoral liberalisation in areas which would have a positive impact on trade, investment and economic growth;
  • to intensify work on enhancing the environment for investment; and
  • to advance APEC's trade facilitation agenda in areas of common interest, reflecting particularly the priorities identified by ABAC and the business sector.

(b) Economic and Technical Cooperation

The Governments of Australia and Japan will cooperate to further promote economic and technical cooperation in order to achieve sustainable growth and equitable development in the Asia-Pacific region.

(c) APEC Food Task Force

The Governments of Australia and Japan will also cooperate in further discussions on the APEC Leaders' Initiative on the impact of expanding population and economic growth on food, energy and the environment (FEEEP) as our long-term agenda, in particular as co-chairs of the Task Force on Food.

(d) Transport

The Governments of Australia and Japan will expand cooperation in transport areas such as maritime initiative, the Electronic Data Interchange Project and the Road Transport Harmonisation Project.

(e) Energy

Recognising that regional energy challenges will assume greater importance over the next decade as demand in many countries in the region is expected to rise significantly, Australia and Japan will cooperate closely on promoting better understanding of regional energy issues, mobilising capital for power infrastructure growth, mitigating environmental impacts concurrently with the enhancement of economic development, and reducing costs through cooperation on energy standards.

18. Cooperation on International Trade and Economic Issues

(a) WTO

The Governments of Australia and Japan share a common commitment to the primacy of the multilateral trading system under the WTO and recognise the need to strengthen it to promote further trade liberalisation and economic growth. The two Governments will work closely in pursuing an effective WTO work program following the Singapore Ministerial Conference, in particular a successful conclusion of WTO negotiations on financial services.

The two Governments share common interests in new WTO work on issues arising from the globalised economy such as trade and investment, trade and competition policy and transparency in government procurement, and will work together in the WTO and relevant forums to ensure that regional trading arrangements are complementary to the WTO and consistent with its rules.

The two Governments confirm their support for universal membership of the WTO and the early accession of applicants based upon commercially meaningful market access commitments while preserving the integrity of WTO rules.

The two Governments will also work together to ensure a substantive and forward-looking outcome from the 1998 WTO Ministerial Conference that further strengthens the WTO as aforum for negotiation and liberalisation of world trade within a rules-based system, particularly through the built-in agenda of reviews and further negotiations and the work programme agreed at the 1996 WTO Ministerial Conference.

(b) OECD

Recognising the valuable work undertaken in the OECD on a wide range of economic issues of critical importance to Australia and Japan, the two Governments will strengthen their cooperation in, and coordination of, approaches to the OECD. Issues of immediate concern include administrative reform and better prioritisation of work in the Organisation. Both Governments will also strive to have the OECD give more attention to economic issues in the Asia Pacific region.

(c) The Governments of Australia and Japan will continue to exchange views on issues discussed at Summits of The Eight.

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