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Japan may host Australian nuclear submarines envoy

Tokyo wants to cooperate with the AUKUS alliance between Australia, the US and the UK

Australia’s acquisition of nuclear submarines is critically important for regional security, and Japan is ready to offer its expertise and facilities, the country’s ambassador to Canberra told the ‘Advancing AUKUS’ conference on Monday.

Shingo Yamagami called Australia Japan’s most important military ally, beside the United States.

While not directly calling China a threat, the envoy said Tokyo was “a frontline state facing challenging circumstances in the dangerous neighborhood of Southeast Asia,” explaining to the audience at the National Press Club in Canberra why “AUKUS matters to us a lot.”

Back in 2021, the US, Australia, and the UK announced the creation of the so-called AUKUS security pact, which envisages providing Canberra with conventionally armed and nuclear-powered submarines, thus significantly boosting its naval capabilities.

Last month, Australia signed a separate agreement with Japan to deepen their security cooperation, including joint military training and intelligence sharing. “This makes Australia Japan’s most important defense and security alliance… outside of the United States,” ambassador Yamagami said.

“In the future, Japan may also be playing host to Australian nuclear submarines,” the envoy said according to remarks he later shared on Twitter. “Japan for many years has played host to visits by US Navy nuclear submarines… So measures are already in place to receive them should they come.”

“Japan’s co-operation with AUKUS holds great potential… Such submarines will increase regional deterrence,” he added.

China has repeatedly criticized the AUKUS alliance, arguing that its projects pose grave risks to regional stability and nuclear security. This view has to some extent been echoed by Russia. In August, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu warned that AUKUS could “detonate” the entire Asia-Pacific region, since the pact has the makings of becoming “a military-political alliance.”

On Sunday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov brought up AUKUS as an example of Washington and its allies trying to militarize the Asia-Pacific region. Those actions are not just “obviously aimed at containing China” but also “resisting Russia’s interests in the Asia-Pacific,” the minister said.