With its growing ties to Australia, Japan feels more secure and while Australia says the Chinese government should not feel it is taking sides, China is concerned about the development and its security implications.
And this week, Japan and Australia’s “special friendship” is likely to strengthen, as their two leaders sign a free trade agreement and initiate significant defence cooperation and defence technology transfers.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will address Parliament when he visits Australia this week as Tony Abbott works to strengthen relations between the regional allies.
“With these visits, PM [Tony Abbott] in April, [Shinzo] Abe in July, G20 in November, I feel sure this very strong relationship will develop into an even more special relationship as we work closely with our dear friends and neighbours,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said at the joint media conference in Tokyo.
On that occasion, Australia supported Japan’s push to end its post World War II military limitations and announced a suite of measures to be considered by the leaders in defence and economic cooperation.
Australia reacted strongly in 2013 when China declared an Air Defence Identification Zone in disputed territory in the East China Sea, calling in the Chinese ambassador to lodge a complaint.
Defence Minister David Johnston signed measures to initiate further defence cooperation and steps that would make it possible for Australia to purchase Japanese submarines.
Mr Abbott has been actively growing the relationship with Japan since winning office in 2013, believing ties had been neglected by the previous Labor government.
In October last year Mr Abbott told Mr Abe the relationship with Japan was a key one for Australia.
Read more here: ABC