In a joint statement last week, Australian, US and UK defence principals officially announced that the AUKUS partners are “considering cooperation with Japan on AUKUS Pillar II advanced capability projects.” USSC Director of Foreign Policy and Defence Professor Peter Dean told the ABC that the AUKUS talks with Japan were “a really significant move," while Research Fellow Tom Corben highlighted the fact that Japan holds “niche technological advantages,” including in fields like quantum, unmanned systems, cyber security and artificial intelligence.

Polling by the United States Studies Centre finds that Australians continue to demonstrate strong support for Japan’s inclusion in the AUKUS pact. In 2023, a majority of Australians (54 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed with expanding AUKUS to include Japan, though this represented a slight decline from 2022 levels of support (62 per cent). Just 10 per cent of Australians said that they disagreed with doing so. The rest remained largely unsure, with around a third of respondents saying that they neither agreed nor disagreed or did not know when it came to the prospect of expanding the AUKUS partnership to include Japan.