US-Japan-Australia Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges

The United States’ alliances with Japan and Australia are among its most robust in the Asia-Pacific and serve as critical pillars to the US’ rebalance strategies in the region. The security relationship between Japan and Australia has also grown more intimate in recent years. Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Japan Australia’s “closest friend in Asia” last October, and in July, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Australia and signed an agreement regarding the transfer of defense equipment and technology. Most recently, Abbott and Abe reaffirmed the importance of US-Japan-Australia cooperation at a summit meeting in September.

Enhanced security cooperation among the US, Japan, and Australia makes sense considering the range of security concerns the three countries are grappling within the region – from maritime security and an increasingly assertive China, to peace building and supporting Southeast Asian militaries as they increase their humanitarian assistance/disaster relief capacity, to nonproliferation. Moreover, all three capitals are facing challenging fiscal environments and cuts to their defense budgets – it is natural for the three to deepen their cooperation in security issues. Cooperation among the three can lead to regional efforts to establish and enforce rule-based framework to address regional security concerns. With shared values, including unwavering support for democracy, freedom, free trade, and respect for human rights, a US-Japan-Australia alliance can serve as the foundation for broader regional security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.

View event below or here.

WHAT: Discussion on the opportunities for trilateral cooperation between the US, Japan and Australia.


Ken Jimbo, Ph.D is an Associate Professor at Keio University.  He concurrently serves as Senior Research Fellow at Canon Institute of Global Studies and Tokyo Foundation.  He actively writes on Japan’s security policy, particularly in the context of regional security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, Jimbo worked at Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) and Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR).  Dr. Jimbo has a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Keio University.

James L. Schoff is a Senior Associate in the Carnegie Asia Program. His research focuses on U.S.-Japan relations and regional engagement, Japanese politics and security, and the private sector role in Japanese policymaking. He previously served as senior adviser for East Asia policy at the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense and as director of Asia Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA).  At the Department of Defense, Schoff was responsible for strategic planning and policy development for relations with Japan and the Republic of Korea.  Prior to joining IFPA, Schoff served as program officer in charge of policy studies at the United States-Japan Foundation in New York.  His publications include What Myanmar Means for the U.S.-Japan Alliance (Carnegie, 2014) and Tools for Trilateralism: Improving U.S.-Japan-Korea Cooperation to Manage Complex Contingencies (Potomac Books Inc., 2005).

David Envall is a research fellow in the Department of International Relations at The Australian National University. He is also the Department’s undergraduate program convenor. In addition to having worked as a copy editor and corporate editor/writer, David has formerly held appointments teaching Japanese foreign relations at Tokyo International University and politics at La Trobe University. He has been a visiting researcher at Hitotsubashi and Waseda Universities, and has been the book reviews editor for the electronic journal of contemporary Japanese studies since 2001. He has a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, an MA from Hitotsubashi University, and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. ​His forthcoming book, Japanese Diplomacy: The Role of Leadership, will be published by SUNY Press in March 2015.

Yuki Tatsumi (moderator) was appointed Senior Associate of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center in September 2008 after serving as a research fellow since 2004. Before joining Stimson, Tatsumi worked as a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and as the special assistant for political affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC. In September 2006 Tatsumi testified before the House Committee on International Relations. She is a recipient of the 2009 Yasuhiro Nakasone Incentive Award. In 2012 she was awarded the Letter of Appreciation from the Ministry of National Policy of Japan for her contribution in advancing mutual understanding between the United States and Japan. A native of Tokyo, Tatsumi holds a B.A. in liberal arts from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan and an M.A. in international economics and Asian studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.   

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