Japan says no deal made on submarines

A member of the Japanese delegation in Adelaide to outline its bid to build Australia’s next generation submarines has denied Japan and the Government have already made a deal on the project.

Former Japanese Self Defence Force chief of staff Admiral Takashi Saito told the Adelaide Advertiser no secret deal has been made on the $20b project.

“There is no such a deal at all. We are confident that there is no such secret deal between the two (countries),” he said through an interpreter.

The Japanese delegation is here to outline its three options for the bid – construction in Japan, construction in Australia and construction in both countries.

As AAP reports, the delegation will meet with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith for discussions. This will be followed by a tour of  the facilities of local shipbuilder ASC which is likely to be involved in any local construction work on the project.

"The global interest in naval manufacturing presents an opportunity to showcase our industry competencies and achievements and maximise opportunities for local industry," Hamilton-Smith said.

“This will be another opportunity to highlight South Australia's impeccable credentials as a centre for excellence in naval shipbuilding underpinned by our world-class infrastructure, research and industry base."

According to the ABC, the Japanese delegation is set to increase its emphasis on the public relations aspect of the bid.

Japanese defence adviser and former submarines commander Yoji Koda pointed out that this is the first time Japan has bid for a foreign defence contract and it is therefore new to such PR tasks.

"I strongly believe [with] the engineering capability or technology … of building the larger submarine, I think Japan is still in the lead," he said.

"But at the same time there are several other things we need to take into consideration. One is the public relations so, yes, for the first time the Japanese team shows up at Adelaide and speaks to the public and also have a conference with [the] Australian team and I hope that will be convincing to the Australian people."