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Australia, Japan trade F-35 deployments in reciprocal access deal

F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft A35-011 taxis into the hangers at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo: SGT David Gibbs.

Australia and Japan will trade F-35 Joint Strike Fighter deployments later this year as part of a new Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement.

Australia and Japan will trade F-35 Joint Strike Fighter deployments later this year as part of a new Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement.

Australian F-35s will be deployed to Japan for the first time in early September during Exercise Bushido Guardian, while Japanese F-35s will deploy to RAAF Base Tindal in Australia for the first time at the end of August.

The military agreement strengthens defence ties and provides the legal framework for greater defence cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and Japan Self-Defense Forces.

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“The Reciprocal Access Agreement will deepen the relationship between our respective defence forces, supporting closer cooperation and strengthening the capabilities of both the ADF and the JSDF,” according to Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.

“Both Australia and Japan recognise the increasing complexity of our security environment and the need to grow our partnership to support a stable and prosperous region.”

Japan operates the 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron and 301st TFS, as part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing at Misawa Air Base. The JASDF has 147 F-35 aircraft with 105 “A” and 42 “B” variants.

Australia will also participate in Exercise Yama Sakura as a full participant for the first time with more than 150 personnel travelling to Japan in December.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong said the RAA will streamline more effective force cooperation and enable each country to increase the sophistication and regularity of training, exercises, and other cooperative activities.

“Australia and Japan share an aspiration for a stable, peaceful, and prosperous region, and this bilateral Reciprocal Access Agreement will help us deepen our defence cooperation,” she said.

“The security and defence relationship between Australia and Japan is critical to both nations and is underpinned by our Special Strategic Partnership.”

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