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Japan, Australia to Boost Security Cooperation
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Japan and Australia agreed Tuesday to strengthen security cooperation in UN peacekeeping missions, joint military drills and other issues, after the two countries' defense ministers met in Tokyo.

Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma and his Australian counterpart Brendan Nelson agreed that Japan will act as an observer in a US-Australia joint military exercise later this month in Australia, Kyodo News reported.

The two countries also decided to increase information exchanges to ensure security in sea lanes and boost cooperation in disaster relief, as well as to update a 2003 Japan-Australia memorandum of understanding on defense exchanges.

During their meeting, Kyuma and Nelson discussed ways to strengthen coordination over anti-terrorism measures and address issues related with North Korea, the report said.

The two defense chiefs, together with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, are scheduled to launch Foreign and Defense Ministerial Dialogue, or the "two-plus-two" talks, between their countries today.

(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2007)

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