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Australia says seeking military technology cooperation with Japan

By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo

TOKYO, June 11 (Reuters) - Australia wants greater military technology cooperation with Japan, and in talks between the two on Wednesday, wants to take a step paving the way for a possible agreement for Japan to supply it with stealth submarine designs, Australia's Defence Minister said.

"We are taking small and determined steps down that path," David Johnston told Reuters in an interview in Tokyo. "We are looking to push the relationship a little further along, carefully and discreetly, as to how we might better inter-operate."

Johnston is meeting Itsunori Onodera, along with the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Julie Bishop and Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo on Wednesday for talks to bolster ties.

Industrial cooperation, Johnston said, could also lead Japan and Australia to "compare notes" on Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter, which both nations have bought, to help them better sustain a program that will be at the core of their air defence strategies in the next few decades.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)