12 Apr 2018

Australia now Monthly – April 2018

Australia now Monthly – April 2018


Starting with a spectacular cherry blossom season, spring continues to bring warmth and promise of exciting times ahead.

I was pleased to meet many friends of Australia at the embassy’s annual Australia Day in Spring celebration. The launch of Australia now Japan 2018 gave this year’s celebration additional significance, with special appearances by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO and Australian artist Sarah Àlainn to mark the occasion.

From now until November, if you’re living in Japan or know someone who is, I encourage you to get involved and follow the Australia now Japan journey on Twitter or Facebook. You can see the full program of almost 40 innovation, lifestyle and creativity events at Australianow2018.com.

The last month saw new connections right across the relationship: the appointment of the first Rio Tinto Fellow, the inaugural Japan-Australia Defence Industry Forum, Australian products on display at FOODEX JAPAN, and celebrations to mark International Women’s Day and the signing of the TPP-11.

Read on for more details!

Richard Court AC



Ambassador Court launches Australia now Japan 2018 at Australia Day in Spring
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo

– Japan overtook the United States to again become Australia’s second‑largest two-way trading partner in FY2016-17. Two-way trade increased 13 per cent to A$68.6 billion (JPY5.8936 trillion).

– The fifth round of tariff cuts under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) came into effect on 1 April, boosting future trade prospects.

– Japanese tourists travelling to Australia grew 4% to total 398,000 in 2017, about the same as the population of Canberra!



Australia now until November!

Australia now 2018 has officially begun! Around 1,250 leaders from Japan’s corporate, government and community sectors gathered on 5 April at the Embassy’s annual Australia Day in Spring, marking the launch of the biggest celebration of contemporary Australia in Japan this decade. Guests were joined by Australia now partners and Goodwill Ambassadors.

Guests entered the embassy through an immersive Australian native ‘forest’ before enjoying premium Australian food and drinks and moving performances by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO and Australia now Goodwill Ambassador, Sarah Àlainn.

The last month also saw new events added to the Australia now program, including a major exhibition of contemporary Australian architecture at Mori Tower’s Sky Gallery in July. Titled UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES / UNIQUE PROJECTS: Architecture Re-Setting the Agenda, the exhibition will examine how contemporary architecture is addressing sustainability and liveability challenges, under the curatorship of leading Australian architect, Wendy Lewin.

Find out more about this and other exciting events on the Australia now website.

Ambassador Court with Australia now Goodwill Ambassadors and partners at the launch of Australia now
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo

Yorta Yorta soprano Ms Deborah Cheetham AO and Australia now Goodwill Ambassador Sarah Àlainn
at Australia Day in Spring for the launch of Australia now
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo

Aussie-kun and Embassy staff greet Australia Day in Spring guests at the Australian native ‘forest’
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo


Inaugural Defence Industry Forum facilitates industry collaboration

The Australian Department of Defence and Japanese Ministry of Defense held the first ever Japan-Australia Defence Industry Forum Week over 5-7 March in Tokyo. Organised by Austrade and the Department of Defence, the Forum presented cutting-edge Australian defence capabilities to an audience of over 70 Japanese corporate representatives and officials.

The event followed Prime Ministers Abe and Turnbull’s visit to Narashino Base in January to view an Australian-made Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle in service with the Japan Self-Defence Force.


Ambassador Court opens the inaugural Australia-Japan Defence Industry Forum Reception
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo


Win a trip to Australia! Australian Beef, Lamb and Wine Promotion

As part of Australia now, around 300 restaurants in Japan’s Kanto, Kansai and Chubu regions will feature Australian beef, lamb and wine pairings in April and May.

Head to the Australia Fair website on your phone to enter the promotional code from your meal for the chance to win one of 11,000 discount vouchers. One lucky participant will also win a round trip to Australia from Qantas. Good luck!



Australia now Goodwill Ambassadors announced

On 13 March, the embassy announced the Australia now 2018 Goodwill Ambassadors: six celebrities with deep connections between Japan and Australia.

The Goodwill Ambassadors are actor Toshio Shiba AM, actress Kyoko Maya, actor Tetsuya Bessho, radio DJ Chris Glenn, essayist Keiko Kojima, and artist Sarah Àlainn. The Ambassadors were announced during a briefing for 50 media and guests on 13 March.

The audience was also treated to a memorable performance of the Australian National Anthem by Goodwill Ambassador Sarah Àlainn and a special video message from Nobel Prize Winner and Australian National University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt AC. Aussie beef steak Meister, Aussie-kun, also popped by to treat everyone to a photo session.

Platinum partner representatives, Nobi Yamaji from Rio Tinto Japan and George Gilboy from Woodside Energy Japan also outlined their hopes for Australia now in further lifting Australia-Japan ties.


George Gilboy, Jo Court, Aussie-Kun, Sarah Àlainn, Ambassador Court, and Nobi Yamaji at the Australia now 2018 press conference
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo


International Women’s Day at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo

In cooperation with the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) and Melanie Brock Advisory, the embassy celebrated International Women’s Day with a keynote address by Australian business director and sustainability advisor Sam Mostyn on 9 March.

The first woman to join the Australian Football League (AFL) Commission, Ms Mostyn shared her experiences on how ‘Supporting women in sport is good for business.’

Ms Mostyn also launched #CelebratingWomeninJapan, an initiative of ANZCCJ Chair Emeritus Melanie Brock, as part of her presentation. Diet member Rui Matsukawa also joined the panel to share her professional and personal experiences.

The embassy also collaborated with the Canadian Embassy to hold a ‘Succeeding in the Modern Workplace: Developing Women Leaders’ conference on International Women’s Day.


Ms Sam Mostyn speaks at the International Women’s Day event
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo


Deputy Head of Mission Clare Walsh (centre), Minister-Counsellor (Economic) Brenton Goldsworthy (second from left) with Canadian co-host,
Deputy Head of Mission Nadia Burger(far right) and some of the panel members at the joint IWD conference held on 8 March
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo


Australian business and products on display at FOODEX JAPAN 2018

More than 50 Australian exporters exhibited their products at Asia’s largest food and beverage trade-only exhibition, FOODEX JAPAN, held from 5-9 March.

With 3,000 exhibitors from 80 countries and 70,000 buyers, the event was useful to Australian businesses, some new to the Japanese market, to build their brand awareness and commercial networks. Austrade worked closely with the Victorian Government, FoodSA and Hort Innovation in supporting Australian companies at this event.

A highly successful networking function helped Australian exhibitors meet with over 100 Japanese importers, wholesalers, retailers and freight forwarders.

Well done to all Aussie businesses!


Cheryl Stanilwicz, Trade Commissioner Tokyo; Tim Jackson, Group Sales Marketing Manager, Almond Co; Ambassador Court;
Joseph Ebbage, Market Development Manager, AlmondBoard of Australia;
Thomas Dobbin, Sales Account Manager, Almond Co at FOODEX JAPAN
Photo credit: Austrade


First Wheatstone Shipment Arrives

Ambassador Richard Court AC travelled to Oita, Kyushu to join Consul General Ian Brazier for the arrival of the first LNG equity delivery to Kyushu Electric from the Wheatstone LNG project in Western Australia.

Australia is Japan’s largest supplier of LNG – the most important fuel for Japan’s electricity industry.


Ambassador Court with Ship’s Captain for the first LNG equity delivery from the Wheatstone LNG project
Photo Credit: Austrade


Welcoming the TPP-11

To mark the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11), Ambassador Richard Court AC hosted a reception for Japan’s TPP-11 negotiating team and TPP-11 diplomatic representatives in Japan on 14 March.

Ambassador Court acknowledged Japan’s leadership and commitment in helping drive the TPP-11 negotiations to conclusion. Japan’s chief TPP negotiator, Ambassador Umemoto said he appreciated the close cooperation of Australia and looked forward to the early entry into force of the agreement.

Australia is working with Japan on a range of trade-liberalising initiatives, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the WTO e-commerce initiative, to support the rules-based trading system.

Ambassador Court with Japan’s TPP-11 negotiating team and TPP-11 diplomatic representatives in Japan
Photo credit: Australian Embassy


Australia now Launch – Ticket Giveaway

To celebrate the launch of Australia now, the embassy is giving three winners and guests the chance to see the Australian Chamber Orchestra Special Opening Concert on 30 May. Entrants have been asked to post their response to the question ‘What are the three themes of Australia now?’ on the embassy’s Facebook, or with the hashtag #Australianow2018 on Twitter.

Don’t miss the chance to see one of the world’s most lauded chamber ensembles here in Japan!


The Australian Chamber Orchestra in concert
Photo Credit: Wolter Peeters


Japan and Australia: Leading Asia Pacific regionalism in uncertain times

On 15 March, the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Australia Japan Research Centre, Australian National University (ANU), jointly hosted a symposium on Australia and Japan’s regional leadership.

Australia’s Ambassador for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Simon Newnham, and Emeritus Professor of Economics at the ANU, Peter Drysdale, delivered speeches in Tokyo on the evolving Australia-Japan relationship, developing regional challenges and opportunities for leadership.

Ambassador Newnham delivers a speech on Australia and Japan’s regional economic leadership.
Photo credit: Australian Embassy Tokyo