TOKYO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan and Australia Wednesday held their 5th round of "two-plus-two" talks involving foreign and defense chiefs from both sides and vowed to enhance bilateral security and defense cooperation, especially in the area of submarine technology transfer.
The ministers said in a joint press conference after their meeting that they have made "substantial conclusion" of talks on an agreement for cooperation in the field of defense equipment and technology, adding they discussed preparations for joint research on marine hydrodynamics as their initial defense cooperation.
Japan has loosened its self-imposed ban on defense equipment and technology transfer in April and has such defense equipment and technology cooperation with the United States and Britain.
Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at the press briefing that Australia showed its supports toward Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to exercise collective self-defense rights, which is a controversial issue inside Japan as the country 's ruling coalition is still at odds on the issue.
Japan's war-renouncing constitution bans Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to engage in fights overseas but Abe seeks to reinterpret the supreme law so as to lift the ban. The controversial issue has also triggered regional concerns over Japan's military stance.
Julie Bishop, Australian top diplomat, said that her country and Japan are "natural partners" and they have cooperation in broad areas, such as humanitarian assistance in the region and the two countries still have many areas to explore for bilateral cooperation.
Australian Defense Minister David Johnston commented that cooperation with Japan in security area is a "very important pillar" of bilateral ties and Australia will continue to enhance its ties with Japan.
According to the ministers, the two sides will hold bilateral cyber policy dialogue in the second half of this year in Canberra in an effort to address cyber threats.