International Engagement

The Australia-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement (‘RAA’) is a landmark treaty, which paves the way for a new chapter of advanced defence cooperation.

The RAA builds on our Special Strategic Partnership, based on shared values and interests, trust and respect. It reflects our shared ambition to improve the interoperability and capability of our defence forces to contribute to an open and secure Indo-Pacific region. This is Japan’s first defence treaty with an international partner since 1960, underscoring its significance and the mutual priority we place on our bilateral collaboration. The RAA will be Japan’s first reciprocal treaty regulating the status of foreign forces in Japanese territory.

The increasing complexity of our security environment strengthens the need to grow our regional partnerships, a key message underlying Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update.  Japan is a key partner for Australia in the region and an important regional power.

The Australian Defence Force has a deep and growing relationship with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces across the air, ground, sea, space and cyber domains. Together we are working to achieve a stable, resilient and prosperous region underpinned by open markets, freedom of navigation and the rule of law.

The RAA is an agreement between the governments of Australia and Japan that provides a framework for each country’s forces to operate in the other country. The RAA establishes standing arrangements and streamlines processes to support the deployment of forces, allowing for quicker deployment, more certainty, and less administration.

It will facilitate more sophisticated practical cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.  And it will position us for enhanced engagement with other likeminded partners in pursuit of shared goals of peace and development. 

It is in Australia’s national interest to work closely with likeminded partners to support an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.  Australia and Japan share a common vision in this regard, which is reflected by our Special Strategic Partnership.

As outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Australia’s strategic environment is deteriorating and competition is sharpening.  We need to ensure that Australia is able to adequately shape our strategic environment, deter actions against our interests and, when required, to respond with credible military force.  Working together with capable and professional partners like Japan will contribute to strengthening the ADF’s military capabilities and our interoperability and assist Australia to meet the strategic security challenges we face.

The RAA contains provisions that enhance bilateral defence cooperation, as do defence treaty agreements Australia has with other partners. It includes a package of legally and non-legally-binding texts covering issues relevant to defence activities and deployments. 

These include simplified entry and exit, importation and exportation, taxation and customs procedures; access to facilities; communications; licensing; use of vehicles; carriage, handling and transportation of weapons; protection of information; disciplinary matters; criminal jurisdiction; security; claims; and accident and incident procedures.

The RAA will enter into force after Australia and Japan have completed their respective domestic processes to give effect to the agreement.  For Australia, these procedures include scrutiny by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties and any amendments to existing legislation and regulations that are needed to facilitate the implementation of the treaty.  We expect Australia and Japan will make the relevant legislative changes as soon as possible in 2022.

For further detail on this process, please visit the DFAT treaty-making process website

Australia has a world class, technologically sophisticated defence industry sector offering innovative capability solutions to meet international requirements.

Australia has a proud history of designing, manufacturing and adapting world class products to meet demanding military requirements. Australian defence industry sectors cover the aerospace, maritime, land, weapons and electronic systems domains.

Australian industry is flexible, responsive and customer focused. Australia's business environment promotes competition and innovation to derive best value for money solutions.

  • CASG international offices

    Defence has 2 international offices in London, United Kingdom and Washington DC, United States of America.

  • Military disposals

    The Directorate of Military Disposals is responsible for the disposal of major Defence equipment and capability platforms.

  • Materiel export control

    The role of the Directorate of Materiel Export Control is to assist Defence in meeting its obligations to the United States (US) government in the control and access to US defence technology and equipment in the Australian Defence Force inventory.