A year on from their diamond anniversary – Japan and Australia relations continue to shine

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A year on from their diamond anniversary – Japan and Australia relations continue to shine

Australia and Japan celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Australia Commerce Agreement in 2017. The relationship has continued to prosper under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) which entered into force in January 2015. The two countries remain firm partners today and enjoy a relationship based on mutual trust, shared values and common interests.

Ambassador Sumio Kusaka shared his insights in to the Australia-Japan relationship with Synergy Media Specialists (SMS).

SMS: How would you describe the Australia–Japan bilateral relationship in light of last year’s sixtieth anniversary of the Japan-Australia Commerce Agreement?

Kusaka: The 1957 Japan-Australia Commerce Agreement paved the way for the development of a very prosperous and mutually beneficial economic and overall relationship. In recent years, the relationship has been elevated to a special strategic partnership and JAEPA has provided a further boost to bilateral trade and investment.

SMS: How important are agreements such as The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) considering the challenges currently being faced by the global economy?   

Sumio Kusaka, Ambassador of Japan to Australia

Photo provided by: The Embassy of Japan in Australia

Kusaka: Given the rising protectionist sentiment and uncertainty around the world, Japan-Australia cooperation is now more important than ever, as evidenced by the leading role we played in bringing about an agreement on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

SMS: What can we expect in terms of the strengthening of the Japan-Australia bilateral relationship?

Kusaka: As we work toward realizing a free, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, Japan and Australia will be the closest of partners, owing to our relationship based on mutual trust and shared values and interests.

SMS: As Japan and Australia continue to work closely together on a range of issues, what does the future hold?

Kusaka: Looking ahead, I am convinced that Japan and Australia will further expand our economic engagements in various areas, including resources, energy, agriculture and infrastructure, as well as defense and security cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, which are crucial to a longstanding relationship.

Thought leadership quotes from Sir Rod Eddington AO

On the establishment of the Japan-Australia Commerce Agreement in 1957:

“It took significant political courage to establish the Japan-Australia Commerce Agreement in 1957 which laid the foundation for the relationship today. Our business to business links have never been stronger.”

On how the relations have evolved since the early days of trade between both countries:

“The relations started with Japan as customers for Australian resources and Australian customers for Japanese manufactured goods. This has evolved over the years and now Japan is investing in infrastructure projects in Australia and other sectors. The two economies are increasingly integrated and there is a high level of trust that exists.”

On The Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) which entered into force on 15 January 2015:

“When the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) was signed, this provided a further impetus of the trading relationship and there is much better market access from both sides. Japan has always been an important market for Aussie beef and other products.”

On how people to people links have improved in the last 30 years:

“When I lived in Japan in the 80s, for every 10 Japanese that went to Australia, 1 went to Australia. Now this has changed. People to people links have significantly improved and more Australians are visiting Japan. Two years ago there was no flights from Melbourne to Japan and now there is. This speaks of the people connections and the overall increase in cargo and trade.”

On AJBCC’s Future Leaders program to support the development of the “next generation” of Australia-Japan business leaders:

“’Future Leaders’ is focused on the younger members of our committee to invest in Japan–Australia relations because we cannot take the relationship for granted and we need to encourage the younger generation to continue the legacy of this long term mutual relationship. We are ensuring that by investing in the future, these bilateral links will remain strong for the future.”

From October 15-16 the AJBCC with over 400 guests will be meeting in Sydney for the 56th time. The AJBCC has been meeting every year for 56 years.


Sir Rod Eddington AO, President of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee (AJBCC); and Chairman, Asia Pacific Advisory Council, of JP Morgan

Photo by: Synergy Media Specialists

Thought leadership quotes from Keizo Takewaka

On the history of trade relations between Japan and Australia through New South Wales and what the state of relations are today:

“The history between Japan and New South Wales (and Sydney) dates back to 1896 and the Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney established in 1901 is the fourth oldest consulate of Japan. Our relations and the history of our own countries have evolved together from trading in traditional primary products to investments and joint ventures in multiple domains encompassing finance, logistics and retail. Our long-standing relationship which is now at a highly developed state is based on trust and understanding.”

On large scale investment opportunities present in New South Wales:

“For New South Wales, Japan is the number one export market for high quality coal but an opportunity is arising for Japanese companies to invest in the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan which will require major infrastructure upgrades, roads, transport linkages and all other domains.”

Keizo Takewaka, Consul-General of Japan and Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney

Photo by: Synergy Media Specialists

On why Australia remains an ideal place for Japanese investment:

“There has been 27 consecutive years of growth in Australia and it is one of the highest ranked OECD countries experiencing population growth. With the JAEPA having played a part in the growth of economic relations, Australia remains an ideal destination for huge investment.”

On New South Wales’s commitment to Japanese investment:

“Sydney is increasing its already solid reputation as a major avenue for economic agenda. The 56th AJBCC meeting will be held here this month along with other large scale events and the State Government encourages Japanese investment. In fact, the New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s first overseas visit as Premier included Japan to attract Japanese investment.”

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