According to a story published by the Japanese Ministry of Defence:
On January 13, 2021 Major Howlett of the Australian Army was appointed as liaison officer at the HQ Ground Component Command. It is the first time for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) to accept a liaison officer from a country other than our ally, the United States.
Australia is a special strategic partner with which Japan shares strategic interests and universal values including respect for freedom, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. As such, Japan’s relationship with Australia is now more important than ever before.
The Defense White Paper published in February 2016 stated that, among its foreign relations, Australia will continue to place the highest priority on its alliance with the U.S. while aiming to nurture and deepen practical relations with partners in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Japan. Australia actively contributes to the peace and stability of the international community through the deployment of Australian troops overseas to achieve the strategic defense objective of providing military contributions to joint operations that serve its national interest in an international order based on the rule of law.
Japan and Australia share various values on the Indo-Pacific region. It is certain that Japan and Australia can contribute to peace and stability in the region with direct cooperation in order to achieve a security environment that is desirable for both countries.