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Increased ties between Japan and Australia


Military ties between Australia and Japan will be strengthened as both countries' leaders recommit to ensuring regional stability and strong trade links.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and during remarks afterwards both spoke of their desire for "enhanced co-ordination" on issues including activity in the South China Sea and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

"Our meeting has reinforced that the Japan and Australia relationship is truly a very special strategic partnership," Mr Turnbull said on Saturday.

"Australia is invested in Japan's success as Japan is invested in ours."

Mr Abe said both leaders are keen for solid co-operation with the incoming Trump administration but would also continue work on the TPP, which US President-elect Trump has vowed to ditch.

Work will also ramp up on an access agreement under which joint visits and exercises between Japan's and Australia's military will increase.

The PMs were both optimistic it would be signed by the end of the year.

The 7th set of discussions between Mr Turnbull and Mr Abe, held at Kirribilli, were focused on trade and regional security and come on the second anniversary of of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

Under the deal, more than 97 per cent of Australian products are imported into Japan duty free and a further round of tariff cuts are due to come into effect on April 1.

The next round of import tariff reductions should help the Australian beef, tuna, natural honey, oats and wine sectors.

Beef exports have climbed more than 27 per cent under the JAEPA, which is driving down previous tariffs of up to 38.5 per cent, according to trade minister Steven Ciobo.

As well as discussing agricultural trade, the leaders have agreed to a revised acquisition and cross-servicing deal, under which the Australian defence force will be able to supply ammunition to the Japanese military for the first time.

Australia and Japan have also signed a memorandum of understanding on sports, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which is being held in Japan.

"Both our nations share a love of sports," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Abe last visited Australia in July 2014 and this trip comes after Japan lost out to a French ship builder for the contract to construct Australia's new fleet of submarines.

He departs on Sunday with wife Akie and leaders from Japanese banks, resources firms and education institutions to continue a six-day diplomatic tour through the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.