The Australian media essentially followed the line of the US and Japanese media in noting the historical significance ($) of Abe’s address, while also echoing the by-line that Abe was looking for support from the US during his visit for both the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and for Japan’s new defence guidelines with the US. The implications behind the new guidelines were not lost on Australian observers, with one noting that these guidelines point towards more activities between Australia, Japan, and the US in the Asia Pacific region that might serve as a hedge against China, while another noted the changing regional dynamic and how the guidelines will allow Australian forces to work on a more equitable basis with Japanese and US partners in areas such as disaster response and humanitarian missions.
The Diplomat magazine had an interview with MOFA Press Secretary Kawamura Yasuhisa about the new guidelines, in which Kawamura did reiterate the line that they would relate to offering mutual defence against attacks that involve missiles, a scenario that has been given a great deal of analysis in the Japanese media over the past two years ever since PM Abe raised the prospect of reinterpreting the Constitution to allow for collective self defence. A more thorough analysis of the guidelines was offered by Jeff Hornung, who concluded by writing that “While Japan still is not a “normal country” that can fight alongside American troops in combat, it is voluntarily taking on larger security roles alongside its American ally”.
On a more personal note, last weekend I turned 40. That is in many ways a milestone, and it has been quite a journey getting here. Much has been achieved, and much has yet to be achieved. Everyone’s experience of being 40 is different, and so I can’t claim to be able to speak definitively about what being 40 actually feels like. Although I can say this – it feels no different to being 39. So here’s to the next 10 years, when I’ll again be waxing lyrical about turning 50. In the interim I will get a lot more done and do many more things, of that I am sure!