New Zealand's foreign minister Winston Peters said the strategic partnership aimed to ensure funding for development goes a lot further.
Mr Peters has had talks in Wellington with his Japanese Counterpart Taro Kono on teaming up to ensure decisions made don't get caught up in bureaucracy.
But he said how this would be done was still a matter for discussion.
"It would mean that a country that knows more about the Pacific than any other country - namely New Zealand - would play a key role in that and we're asking countries like Japan and elsewhere to acknowledge that."
Japan's foreign minister Taro Kono said the two countries would be linking up at various levels including ocean security and enhancing connectivity
"The Pacific island region is strategically important for both Japan and New Zealand," he said.
Japan would also like to co-operate with New Zealand to resolve the problem of Pacific island debt, the foreign minister said.