Japan's parliament on Friday approved legislation for defense cooperation agreements with Australia and Britain, paving the way for the pacts to take effect once the two partners complete their approval processes.

In a veiled counter to China's military rise and aggressive posture in the Indo-Pacific, the agreement would make Canberra and London Tokyo's first and second reciprocal access agreement partners.

Japan's House of Councillors, the upper chamber, approved the RAAs, which set rules for the transportation of personnel, weapons and supplies, after the House of Representatives gave the green light earlier this year.

Similar to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the pacts are expected to facilitate faster deployment of Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the Australian and British forces in joint drills and disaster relief operations.

The pacts were approved as Japan has been strengthening security ties with the United States and other countries to enhance deterrence against China, which has become more militarily assertive in the East China Sea.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signed the RAA with then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last year when they held a virtual meeting and the RAA with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak this year during their talks in London.

According to related documents that stipulate the status of military personnel, Australia and British will be able to turn down the transfer of soldiers accused of crimes that could result in the death penalty in Japan.

Australia and Britain have both abolished the death penalty.

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