November 22, 2015

Japan - Australia "2 + 2" Talks, November 22, 2015, Going Well

On the night of 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney harbour. One became entangled in the boom net across the harbour, and her occupants blew her up. A second entered the harbour and fired torpedoes at the heavy cruiser USS Chicago. They missed the Chicago but one hit the barracks boat HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 naval ratings. (Photo and description courtesy AWM) The submarines were modified versions of the Pearl Harbour midget submarines. They were Type ‘A Kai 1’ (improved version 1) 24 metres long, 47 tons and carried two 18 inch Type 97 torpedoes, 2 crewman.

Japan's Minister of Defense Nakatani (closest to camera) and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kishida (civilian clothes) pay their respects and lay wreaths at a World War 2 Japanese midget submarine display during a visit to the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre on November 22, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Minister for Defence – Joint Communique – Sixth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations, November 22, 2015. 20 items discussed. Key items included:

2.  special strategic partnership between Australia and Japan

7.  Japanese Ministers explained Japan’s commitment to fulfilling all the requirements in the Competitive Evaluation Process underway to select an international partner to assist in the delivery of “Australia’s Future Submarine.” Australian Ministers welcomed Japan’s participation in the Process and noted Japan’s commitment to it.

12.   expressed their strong opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions that could alter the status quo in the East China Sea.

13 and 14 South China Sea

19 and 20 Japan and Australia’s key alliances with the US and Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD).


Andrew Greene Australian ABC News Defence and National Security Reporter has provided a useful article November 22, 2015 that :

"South China Sea: Japan urges Australia to send clear message against 'self-righteous' Chinese military activity

[Sydney] High level talks between the Australian and Japanese governments have opened with a plea for both nations to come together to send a "clear message" against Beijing's military build up in the South China Sea.

Japan's Defence and Foreign ministers are being hosted by their Australian counterparts for bilateral meetings in Sydney.

In his opening remarks Japanese defence minister Gen Nakatani accused China of "attempting to change the status quo by force" in the South China Sea.

He said the attempts were "based on self-righteous assertions which are incompatible with international law and order".

One of China's controversial activities is building artificial islands in disputed regions. See how reefs are being converted intomilitary facilities.

"I believe that it is important that our two nations and our region come together and send a clear message that such attempts will not be condoned," Mr Nakatani added.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told her guests the two countries enjoyed "a special strategic relationship" and one that Australia "valued greatly".

"We share common values and interests. Our relationship is also based on a commitment to supporting peace and security in the region," Ms Bishop added.

Defence Minister Marise Payne [weighed in with similar sentiments] describing the Australia Japan relationship as "one of Australia's highest priorities for defence engagement".

"Japan is our key partner in the region for Australia. We have very valuable shared interests in both regional and international peace, in stability and in prosperity," Senator Payne said.

"Clearly a strong Japan both economically and strategically is fundamental to the stability of North Asia."

Earlier Ms Bishop and Senator Payne accompanied Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida and Gen Nakatani at wreath-laying ceremonies at the HMAS Kuttabul memorial and midget submarine at Garden Island.

This morning the four ministers also toured the Royal Australian Navy's new flagship HMAS Canberra.

Today's discussions will focus on options to strengthen the defence and security relationship, including countering the threat of terrorism.

Japan will also press its case for building Australia's next generation of submarines to replace the ageing Collins class fleet." Ends

[On November 22, just after the talks Nakatani said "This is not just about a chance for defence equipment and technologies, this will lead to co-operation between Japan and Australia, and amongst Japan, Australia and the United States, which I believe will contribute in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific."

Mr Nakatani said because the subs would also have US-Australia-developed combat systems, if Japan was chosen then Australian future submarines would be "a model for strategic cooperation between Australia, the United States and Japan"]


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Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Recently, Darwin port was leased to Chinese[1]. Someone says that Chinese spy-diver will take pictures of submarine propeller in Darwin port. I worry the security risk in Darwin. “US fury over Darwin port lease to Chinese is no surprise”, November 20, 2015,LAURIE OAKES, Herald Sun


Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Unfortunately the Herald Suns suffers from Subscription Request Geographical Lock so I can't read it.

However the Australian Financial Review are more considerate and have provided: with:

"During the Senate hearings,[Opposition] Senator Conroy demanded an expression of comfort that the navy was "completely comfortable with sailing submarines in and out of a port owned by the Chinese". He was given it, in spades."

The smart alec replies he got from an Admiral and Air Marshal forget that if the Chinese (with connections to the PLA-N and a greater ability to rig sigint and bugs) will likely have a few days or longer warning that a submarine (Aussie or Japanese? Who knows) is likely to visit the port.

The Chinese Port managers don't need to know explicitly need to know. They will just become accustomed to the routine preparations for a submarine eg. special diesel refueling equipment and warning that a "naval vessel will be arriving". We actually tell or indicate by actions if it was the US helicopter carrier or large RAN surface ship but "in this case we can't tell what you'll need to prepare for..." Guess.

The Chinese managers will guess more accurately with each passing year of their 99 year their port.

I of course gave warning on this blog that Australia's naval security standards [regarding ethnic Chinese] are not as good as Japan's.

(and apologies for the Aussie High Command who are too scared to speak up.)


Anonymous said...

I introduce some contents of “US fury over Darwin port lease to Chinese is no surprise” by LAURIE OAKES Herald Sun.

IT should be no joking matter when a US president expresses concern about the Australian Government’s failure to consult over what Washington sees as a security issue. America is, after all, still our most important ally by far.

Yet, when Barack Obama chided Malcolm Turnbull over just such a situation during their 90-minute meeting in Manila on Wednesday, the Australian Prime Minister chose to make light of it.

Washington, the President said, would have appreciated a heads-up over a decision to hand control of the strategically important Port of Darwin for 99 years to a corporation said to be a front for China’s military and Communist Party.

The US administration had found out about it only after the event from The Wall Street Journal.

Turnbull’s reply was that, if Obama had subscribed to Darwin newspaper The NT News, he would have known about the plan to lease the port to the Chinese well before that.

A jest, to be sure, but containing the unmistakeable message that the Americans themselves were to blame if the decision took them by surprise.

Turnbull told a news conference the next day: “It was very well known that the port was being privatised and it would be very well known to anyone who thought about it for very long that there would be Chinese interest in it.”

Can that be read any way other than that the US embassy in Canberra, headed by ambassador John Berry, had not been paying attention? You can bet that’s how the Yanks see it.

In his relationship with Washington, as in his relationship with Australian voters, Turnbull benefits at the moment from the fact that he is not Tony Abbott.

The Obama administration was glad to see the back of Abbott, mainly because of his views on climate change, and is keen to duchess the new man.

It let the comments ride. But Turnbull should not interpret that as meaning Washington did not take the Darwin port episode very seriously.

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for your comment. I have just written an article on the Darwin Port for Naval Uses? topic.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I introduce additional information [1] on the submarine building plan submitted by Japan in Nov.30th.

In November 30th, Japanese government submitted the submarine building plan based on the Soryu-class submarine to Australian government. Japan seems to propose that the local training facility is set up to enable building in Australia and to train technicians over up about 7 years. Japan most considers job security in Australia, which is urgent issue and tries to get the order.
In the technician training, Japan will set up the training facility, in Adelaide which is the shipbuilding hub, to train local technicians on welding. Also the training in the Kobe shipbuilding facility will be conducted. Japanese government shows the plan in on-site meeting in Adelaide, November. The submitted plan is in line with this November plan.

Welding may include gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). Ministry of Defense reported that the welding strength by GTAW was around 10% higher than that by gas metal arc welding (GMAW). GTAW is one of the key technologies of Japanese submarine building, and USSR applied this technology to weld pressure hull made of titanium alloy.

[1] (The Mainichi, Dec/01/2015, Japanese)


Peter Coates said...

Hi S [Dec 1, 11:11PM]

Your comments on training tie in well with



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

In early this year, defense expert, Professor Hidemichi Katsumata pointed out the strategic meaning of Japan- Australia-US cooperation as follows [1] and it is becoming true [2,3]:

Collection of information on China’s movement from the South China Sea to the Pacific Ocean is critical for Japan’s security. Australia’s interest in Japanese submarine means that Australia is going to monitor China’s movement into the Pacific Ocean. Agreement of cooperative submarine development based on Japanese technology by Australian Defense Minister and Japanese counterpart must be understood in this context. The shallow Celebes Sea is a hole in the monitoring network constructed by Japan and US. If RAN monitors this area, the alliance can see picture of China’s submarine behavior. This is the ultimate goal of collaborative submarine development by Japan and Australia.

[1] Ships of the world, 2015, No 821, p108-109
[2] (The Tokyo Shinbun, Dec/02/2015, “MOD suggested the joint defense of the South China Sea in Australia submarine plan”)

In the Joint Committee of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held in Dec/01/ 2015, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) cited the reason of submission of building plan toward the cooperative development and manufacturing of next submarine of Australia. The reason was future cooperative operation of submarine among Japan, Australia and US in the South China Sea. It suggested possible joint operation with US and Australia in the South China Sea, and the lifting of the ban on arms exports could lead expansion of Self Defense Force.
He (Minister of Defense, Gen Nakatani) said after talks with his counterpart Marise Payne in Sydney that awarding Japan the contract would be of "strategic importance, significant strategic importance, and this is not just about transfer of defense equipment and capabilities."