Both sides should have plenty to discuss - joint exercises in the northern regions of Australia, RIMPAC, disaster relief efforts, (possible) submarine technology acquisition, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, aid work in Burma and funding for Pacific islands, the question of China and sovereignty, Japanese investment in resource and energy projects (i.e, the Ichthys project), education and the "Asian Century", progress in EPA negotiations (probably best not to dwell on this one too long), the TPP, not forgetting to mention joint work in the EAS and at APEC. In short, there shouldn't be too many pauses between subjects, so long as the dialogue remains focused on the interests of both sides and doesn't become bogged down in unilateral demands (which is unlikely to happen, given what both sides have to gain through cooperation). The fact that Japan is fielding two competent, well-respected ministers will be appreciated by Australia. Nothing derails bilateral dialogue further than having to wonder whether one's counterpart will still be in his position a month from now.
Both sides may in fact take up the idea suggested by Dr Brendan Taylor of the ANU earlier this week (E), recommending that Australia act as an intermediary in getting China and Japan to return to the negotiating table on questions of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, given the relatively good standing of Australia in Beijing and Tokyo and the stakes involved for Australia if both sides clash over the issue. In much the same manner as the South China Sea dispute, the reaction of the Australian government will probably be to suggest that both sides negotiate to resolve things peacefully and in accordance to international law. It might even offer to hold a discussion between both countries on neutral territory in Australia, but quite frankly, the chances of both sides agreeing to such a proposal are slim to none. Australia does not have the leverage of say, the US, the UK, France, or Germany, not forgetting to mention Brazil, given the degree of dependency of Australia on both the Chinese and Japanese export markets. Just the threat of either side halting investment in Australia as a result of perceived favouritism would cause the ASX to halt trading lest selling on the dollar occur on too great and rapid a scale.
To act as an intermediary would be a noble role, but the risks outweigh any benefits, and issues of sovereignty are an international law minefield that any third party nation would be well advised to avoid lest it get dragged into the
dispute against its will. It may be a frustrating process to watch from the sidelines, but if the main protagonists are not inclined to reach an agreement (and domestic pressure prevents them from doing so), then very little will be achieved by intervening. Granted, it is a pessimistic view of bilateral relations, but given the history of attempts to forge peace between two mutually acrimonious states (and they are acrimonious, given the results of recent polls on popular perceptions of the other conducted in China and Japan (J), it will take a state with much greater levels of influence over both sides in the East China Sea, and one with the requisite resources to back up its promises, to get both sides talking again.