Tuesday, 22 July 2008 10:02 AM

Japanese Troops Return in Peace

Japanese troops may return to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

This time, however, the return of the Japanese troops will come entirely in peace.

As a result of the increased intimacy between Australia and Japan, both in strategic co-operation and aid co-ordination to the South Pacific, Japan has offered to send personnel to assist with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd hailed the Japan-Australia partnership.

Mr. Rudd was quoted as stating that Japan is already a strong partner for Australia, not only in foreign policy but in development assistance in East Asia and the South Pacific.

He told The Weekend Australian that his Government was committed to increasing strategic co-operation between Australia and Japan.

Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith revealed Thursday in the Solomons that Japan had offered assistance to RAMSI.

Mr. Smith warmly welcomed Japan's assistance.

He said that from a general point of view, Australia very much encourages Japanese engagement in the Pacific.

Mr. Smith said this is an example which, in his view, they are keen to encourage, "provided they balance the regional architecture requirements of RAMSI itself."

The Australian Foreign Minister stated that RAMSI derives its legitimacy from the Pacific Islands Forum, as well as the Solomon Islands Government, the forum governments will need to approve Japanese participation.

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