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Australia, Japan to sign free trade, defense deals amid major shift in Japan's military policy

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe is meeting with his Australian counterpart to sign agreements bolstering defense and trade ties between the countries.

Tuesday's defense deal comes a week after Japan's government reinterpreted the nation's pacifist constitution to allow greater use of its military to defend allies.

Abe wants Japan to have a larger role in global security amid China's growing military might. The policy shift drew criticism from Beijing, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan.

That leaves Australia in a delicate situation because China is its largest trade partner. Prime Minister Tony Abbott sought to downplay any suggestion that Australia's deal with Japan is a slight against Beijing. He noted in a speech to parliament that Australia's partnership with Japan "is not a partnership against anyone."