New ABF office in Tokyo bolsters coast guard and customs partnerships

The strong relationship between Australian Border Force (ABF) and its coast guard and customs partners in Japan was further enhanced this week with the opening of a new ABF office in Tokyo by ABF Commissioner Michael Outram APM.  

The Tokyo office opening coincides with the appointment of a new ABF Counsellor for Japan, Superintendent Julie Pettrey, reflecting the rapidly growing relationships between ABF, Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and Japan Customs and Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance  (Japan Customs).

Commissioner Outram said the new ABF office will seek to advance cooperation with the JCG and Japan Customs and serve as the regional hub for engagement with partners, including the Border Five and Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD).

“Japan is an important partner of Australia, and we share a mutual interest in a free, prosperous and resilient Indo Pacific,” Commissioner Outram said.

 “The opening of a new office within the Australian Embassy in Tokyo reflects the rapidly growing relationship between our two nations as strategic partners on border security, customs matters and civil maritime security.”

During his visit, Commissioner Outram signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on Maritime Domain Awareness with JCG Commandant ISHII Shohei, which is based on shared values and operational priorities.

“This will open up important opportunities for increased information exchange and cooperation with the Japan Coast Guard,” Commissioner Outram said.

“Equally, the JCG have a proud history of international leadership in coast guarding, including as the Secretariat for the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Meeting and Coast Guard Global Summit, and we welcome the opportunity for collaboration in this respect.”

Additionally, a Memorandum of Cooperation on Customs Detector Dog Arrangements was updated with Director General of Customs and Tariff Bureau, SUWAZONO Kenji. Since its creation in 2013, dozens of dogs from ABF’s Detector Dog breeding program have provided an outstanding capability for Japan Customs.

The update will enable the ABF to continue the current arrangements to supply candidate detector dogs.

“Japan Customs have shown for generations their willingness to support the global customs community, be that through the World Customs Organisation, mini-laterally or bilaterally. We are excited for the opportunities the opening of the ABF office presents to extend our partnership and the detector dogs program is one example of this,” Commissioner Outram said.