An Australian-Japan alliance?

11 Dec 2012

This paper explores the potential and risks of an alliance between Japan and Australia.

Japan is one of Australia's most important economic partners, a close ally of the US and might be prepared to sell Australia a highly advanced submarine fleet. Yet, for all the overlap of values, Professor White cautions that there is not necessarily an overlap of interests. In particular the rise of China poses difficult questions for the long term potential for the relationship, and for Australia's desire to avoid having to choose between the US and China.

Key points:

  • Australia and Japan seem to be moving towards an alliance.
  • There is a strong convergence of values, economics and key allies.
  • Yet the move, driven by the rise of China, carries significant risks.
  • Australia needs to think carefully about the overlap of interests, not just values between Australia and Japan, before signing anything.

Policy recomendation:

Australia should push the pause button on the idea of a strategic alliance with Japan. For all the values and outlooks we share, Australia’s strategic interests are quite different from Japan’s, and the real risks to Australia far outweigh the potential benefits.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
Geographic Coverage