Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will sign trade and defence deals in Canberra.

Australia and Japan are set to sign a trade deal and agree on “evolutionary” changes in defence ties during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Mr Abe and wife Akie arrive in Canberra on Monday night for the first bilateral visit by a Japanese leader in 12 years.

Mr Abe will address a sitting of both houses of parliament on Tuesday, in which he is expected to spell out the importance of trade, investment and security links.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Abe will sign the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

The deal has historical echoes as it comes 57 years after the Japanese leader’s grandfather Kishi Nobusuke agreed on a trade pact with the then Australian PM, Sir Robert Menzies.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb told AAP the EPA would enable more than 97 per cent of Australian exports to enter Japan duty free or receive preferential access.

The tariff on beef, Australia’s biggest export to Japan, will be halved over time delivering an estimate benefit of up to $400 million a year.

Other beneficiaries will include producers of wine, fruit, vegetables and seafood.

Australian consumers will benefit from cheaper imported cars, whitegoods and electronics from Japan.

The deal also opens a door for Australian business to Japanese government contracts and enables more legal, educational and other services to enter the market.

Labor has called on the government to release the full text of the agreement amid concerns from some farm sectors about missing out on concessions.

The two leaders will sign a deal on defence science and technology cooperation and what insiders describe as an “evolutionary but not revolutionary” agreement on military exercises and personnel exchanges.

Last week, Mr Abe announced a reinterpretation of his nation’s pacifist constitution to allow Japanese armed forces to come to the aid of friendly nations under attack.

Previously the constitution only allowed armed forces to act in Japan’s self-defence.

The move has been welcomed by Australia as enabling Japan to make a greater contribution to international peace and stability.

But some experts have warned Japan’s decision to expand the scope for military action could inflame tensions with China and South Korea.

Australian National University security expert Brendan Taylor said deepening ties with Japan had its downside.

“As the Asian century unfolds, Australia should exercise extreme caution about hitching its wagon to a Japan that is gradually declining, both economically and demographically, and which is engaged in a dangerous strategic competition with China,” Professor Taylor said.

Mr Abe will visit iron ore mines in the Pilbara region in Western Australia later in the week.