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Australia, Japan and Exercise Nichi Gou Trident

Sydney Harbour welcomes vessels from the JMSDF for a joint training exercise."

On April 15, 2016, the Japanese submarine JS Hakuryu entered Sydney Harbour. Such an event has not happened since 1942, when three submarines from the Imperial Japanese Navy slipped into the harbour. While two submarines encountered issues and sank, the third launched an attack on the HMAS Kuttabul, which killed 21 Allied naval sailors, according to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

It is no longer 1942, and the circumstances of the Hakuryu's arrival are indicative of a complete turnaround in the relationship between Australia and Japan. 

What is Nichi Gou Trident?

Nichi Gou Trident aims to facilitate cooperation between the ADF and JMSDF.

The Hakuryu, along with the destroyers JS Umigiri and JS Asayuki of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), are in Sydney to participate in Exercise Nichi Gou Trident, a bilateral training operation with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that will run until April 26.

A joint training exercise held between Australia and Japan since 2009, Exercise Nichi Gou Trident aims to bolster the working relationship between the ADF and JMSDF and facilitate cooperation in naval operations.

Various elements of the ADF will be joining the exercise, both in the air and on the water. This includes HMA ships Adelaide, Ballarat and Success, as well as AP-3C Orions and Hawk 127s from the Royal Australian Air Force and the 816 Squadron S-70B Seahawks from the RAN.

The Australian and Japanese partnership

The military forces of Australia and Japan have had a close relationship for some time, a bond supported by an economic and strategic partnership and shared democratic principles, according to an ADF whitepaper.

Japan's military situation is in a period of flux, due to a legislative change in 2015. Following the end of World War II, Japan's constitution has prohibited the use of military force overseas unless as a means of self defence. 

Legislative changes could lead to greater capabilities for operations between Australian and Japanese forces.Legislative changes could lead to greater capabilities for operations between Australian and Japanese forces.

Legislation approved by the Japanese parliament last year, however, changed the interpretation of that part of the constitution. Under the new reading, Japanese forces may get involved overseas if three points apply:

  • Japan or an ally is attacked, and there is a danger to the Japanese people.
  • There is no other option for resolution.
  • Only a minimum amount of forces are committed.

It will be interesting to see how the partnership between the two countries develops as a result in the coming years.

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture. For more information on the best backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214 FREE.

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