Why Does Japan Want In On The AUKUS Deal?

With the recent visit of Japanese Minister Fumio Kishida to Washington, speculation has heightened regarding Japan’s potential involvement in the AUKUS.

This morning, the federal government announced that any collaboration would proceed cautiously on a project-by-project basis.

China, which has long opposed AUKUS, has already issued a statement to say it is “gravely concerned” with news that AUKUS is considering expanding.

So what does it mean for the Asia/Pacific region, specifically Australia?

On today’s The Briefing episode, we talked to David Andrews, Senior Policy Advisor at the ANU National Security College, to find out why Japan is seeking to join AUKUS and what it will prompt from China on the world stage.

In a joint statement, the AUKUS countries’ defence minister said they had always intended to “engage others in Pillar II” of the alliance.

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“If there are specific projects or specific technologies that another country has expertise in or could offer some valuable insights on a case-by-case basis, project-by-project. The three partners might look to engage with a fourth or a fifth country along the way, whether that’s Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, or whoever else it might be,” Mr Andrews said.

There are two “pillars” included in the AUKUS. The “Pillar I” of the deal, which would not involve Japan, is a plan to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines at a stated cost of up to $368 billion over three decades.

“We’re seeing great initiatives announced. We’re seeing lots of lots of talk, but until it starts delivering something, it’s hard to see how effective it will be as an organisation.”

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