Since the re-establishment of formal relations in 1957, the Australia-Japan relationship has been built on mutually beneficial trade and investment and strong diplomatic cooperation.

The relationship has now entered a new phase with the signing of several important security cooperation agreements since 2007.

Only last month foreign and defence ministers from both countries moved to further enhance bi-lateral military cooperation, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expected to continue discussions during a visit to Japan later this month.

It is timely, therefore, that the Griffith Asia Institute and Ritsumeikan University in Japan should host the 5th Annual Australia-Japan Dialogue in Brisbane on Thursday (Dec 10).

Designed to examine where policy is converging and where it is diverging in the case of Australia and Japan, the Dialogue brings together leading academic and policy experts from both countries.

The Ambassador of Policy Planning and International Security Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, Mr Toshiro Iijima (left), will address the Dialogue on Thursday morning, as will First Assistant Secretary, Mr Graham Fletcher, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Dialogue will be preceded on Wednesday night by the Perspectives Asia Annual Australia-Japan Lecture to be delivered by Mr Iijima.

“Security relations between Australia and Japan are growing at a rapid pace. This is partly but not entirely in response to China’s rise as a great power,” Associate Professor Michael Heazle, Griffith Asia Institute, said.

“It is important that the Australian public knows more about the full scope and nature of this relationship. At present, public awareness is largely one-dimensional.

“Media coverage often is focused on submarine deals and military exercises, but cooperation extends into many other areas important to both countries like disaster management, intelligence sharing, technology development, and counter-terrorism.”

Associate Professor Heazle is among the Griffith University academics taking part in the Australia-Japan Dialogue at the Stamford Plaza, Brisbane.

The event, which is supported by The Japan Foundation, will examine the change in Japan’s identity across the region with a focus on its political and security reforms.

“Both Australia and Japan face similar challenges in the region as China becomes more assertive due to their many shared interests and respective alliances with the US.”