Australia-Japan Conference

Eighth Australia Japan Conference, Tokyo, 1 March 2013

Speech by the former Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Richard Marles MP: 8th Australia-Japan Conference

The 8th Australia-Japan Conference was held at Mita Kaigisho on 1 March 2013.  The Conference was chaired by Dr Akio Mimura AC and Sir Rod Eddington.

The Conference was addressed by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Fumio Kishida, and Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Richard Marles.  Mr Marles also participated in the Conference, as did Japan’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi, and the Secretary-General of the Japan-Australia Parliamentary Friendship League, Mr Ichiro Aisawa.  Both countries were represented by leading figures from politics, business, think tanks, academia and the media. 

The Conference discussions focussed on: enhancing people-to-people ties to build a fuller partnership; the revitalisation and reform of our economies; cooperating for peace and stability; and developing pathways to a closer partnership.


Participants put forward a range of specific proposals, including the following:

Strategic Partnership: Cooperation for the 21st Century

  • Japan and Australia should further intensify high-level mutual visits, especially Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s early bilateral visit to Australia was highly encouraged, given the fact that such visit  from the Japanese side had not been realized for more than a decade.
  • Governments, business and the education sector should follow up on the proposals presented to the 6th Australia-Japan Conference on ways to enhance Japanese language education in Australia, including by considering ways these could be funded.
  • Renewed emphasis by Government in prioritising bilaterally study and research, and working harder to create linkages between institutions studying Japan and Australia.
  • Businesses should lead by employing more speakers of the language of the other country, including in support of joint activities in the broader Asian region.
  • Mutual recognition of professional qualifications and greater regulatory flexibility in both countries with regard to educational institutional linkages were essential to closer people-to-people links, and should be pursued.
  • Cultural exchanges should focus both on the traditional arts as well as popular culture, including aspects of daily life such as food and fashion.
  • Participants proposed the creation of a private-sector, non-profit body dedicated to supporting parliamentary exchanges.

Innovation and Revitalisation and Reforming our Economy

  • Japan and Australia should conclude the Economic Partnership/Free Trade Agreement negotiations as  early as possible  as a basis for the two countries’ close and enhanced economic relations, leading free trade and investment as well as economic vitalization in the region and the international community.
  • As deregulation in clean energy and health care, where Australia and Japan had particular strengths, was likely to be a priority in Japan’s forthcoming “growth strategy”, cooperation in these areas should be prioritised.
  • Australia and Japan should work to build stronger financial markets in Asia, including in support of the infrastructure financing needs of the wider region.
  • Exchanges of visits between farmers in both countries had been valuable in raising awareness of shared challenges and the mutual benefits of closer economic integration and should be further encouraged in both countries. 
  • Government and industry should discuss bilaterally the development of domestic science and innovation policy, including ways to encourage investment.

Cooperation for Peace and Stability in the Asia-Pacific and the World

  • Japan and Australia should further strengthen their endeavours to enhance the two countries’ cooperation in the security and defence areas in order to contribute to the peace and stability in the region and the international community.
  • Both governments should expand cooperation in the area of cyber security and defence science and technology, in addition to existing cooperation.
  • Australia and Japan should work together in developing and promoting norms of behaviour in the maritime environment.
  • The two governments should consider significantly expanding the number defence staff college exchanges.
  • Australian business participants suggested the Australian government should brief them more frequently on regional security and strategic developments, as already occurred on an informal basis in Japan.

Session 1 – Strategic Partnership: Cooperation for the 21st Century

Participants from both countries acknowledged the importance of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper in providing impetus to, and outlining pathways towards a closer strategic partnership.  They agreed it would be important for governments, business, and community groups to initiate and implement proposals.

Some participants felt clearer definition of the nature of the relationship would provide a stronger basis for expanded and deepened cooperation and enhance mutual awareness and understanding of the relationship in both countries and more widely.

Participants said the partnership should encompass not simply the cooperation the two countries undertake, but the values that they share, including commitment to democracy, free trade, international peace and security, and human rights.

While the relationship was seen as substantial and friendly, participants said there remained a lack of understanding in both countries of the other’s economy and culture.  Each side stressed the vital importance of language skills and wider literacy.  Administrative hurdles hindered cooperation.

Session 2 – Innovation and Revitalisation and Reforming our Economy

Participants welcomed the strong commitment of the Abe government to the revitalisation of Japan’s economy, noting that there was renewed confidence in Japan’s economic future following the election of the Abe government.

Nevertheless, there was a broad recognition that deeper economic reform and deregulation would be essential to Japan’s long-term economic prosperity.  The deregulation of the services sector in both countries would assume even greater importance as services accounted for a greater proportion of both economies.

Participants considered that the bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement/Free Trade Agreement (EPA/FTA) negotiations were important not just for trade but for the whole relationship.  An FTA could be a catalyst to refocus public attention on the bilateral relationship.

Japanese participants called for Australia to support Japan’s entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Australian participants agreed it would be beneficial for Japan to be a part of the TPP and to commit itself to ambitious structural reform and deregulation in line with ambitious kind of agreement Australia was seeking.

Participants noted that Australia would remain an affordable and reliable supplier of coal and liquid natural gas (LNG); exports to Japan of both had grown sharply since the 2011 Tohoku disasters.  This major development had not been widely recognised, and was likely to endure regardless of other developments in global LNG markets.

Session 3 – Cooperation for Peace and Stability in the Asia-Pacific and the World

Participants on both sides were more pessimistic about the regional security outlook than at the last Conference as a result of challenges posed by the DPRK, the continuing threat of terrorism, and tensions resulting from aspects of China’s rise.  Strategic competition in Asia was increasingly evident in the maritime domain, and Japan and Australia would be disproportionately affected by any regional maritime conflict.

It was noted that both Australia and Japan faced the challenge of balancing their growing economic inter-dependence with China against differences in values and interests.  But both countries had an enormous stake in managing differences with China peacefully.

Participants from both sides referred to the importance for regional and global security of a confident and engaged United States, fully involved in the Asia-Pacific region, with allies and partners in the region who were themselves able to cooperate effectively with each other as well as convey shared views in Washington.

Participants welcomed progress in defence and security cooperation, including the regular 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations, the entry into force of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), and signing of the Japan-Australia Information Security Agreement.

At the same time, participants expressed concern that our security relationship could be tested by looming regional challenges.  Some participants felt our security cooperation had been ad hoc and needed more explicit definition, whereas some participants felt the main challenge was to get past Japanese constraints to closer practical engagement.

Equally, participants from both countries believed it was important to seek opportunities to work together to find creative diplomatic solutions to regional and global problems, in the same way they had done so in the past in relation to the Cambodian peace process, the creation of APEC, expansion of the EAS, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Session 4 – Stronger Partnership: Pathways to a Closer Partnership

In conclusion, participants agreed that a common vision and more explicit definition of the nature and goals of the bilateral relationship, including in its bilateral and broader aspects, would be useful in taking the relationship to the next level.

That vision should encompass all issues where our interests converge – in particular maritime security, free and stable markets, and a rules-based international order – and celebrate the values we share – such as democratic freedom and human rights.

It was felt that, internationally, the nature of relations among the United States, China, and the ASEAN countries would be central to our shared interests.  Australia and Japan would need to work more closely together in engaging each of these.

The economic dimension was seen as the foundation of the relationship, underpinning all of the others.  Early conclusion of the FTA negotiations on mutually acceptable terms was seen as the main and immediate goal, with joint participation in the TPP and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) offering the prospect of deeper and more fundamental integration at a later stage.

Continued economic reform and deregulation in both countries – especially the Abe government’s economic revitalisation measures and a robust “growth strategy” – would be needed to allow both countries to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the Asian Century.

Finally, when considering proposals for expanded cooperation at all levels, participants agreed that we must be realistic about the capacity of government to fund proposals and be creative in identifying ways for business and others to assist.

Seventh Australia-Japan Conference, Brisbane, 4 November 2011

Speech by the former Minister for Foreign Affairs: Australia and Japan in the 21st Century

Co-chairs' statement

The Seventh Australia-Japan Conference was held in Brisbane on 4 November 2011. The Conference was co-chaired by Sir Rod Eddington, Chairman of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, and Mr Akio Mimura, Chairman of the Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee.

Participants included eminent representatives from politics, business, academia, think-tanks and media in both countries. Australia's Foreign Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, addressed conference participants. Mr Joe Nakano (Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs), Ms Julie Bishop (Deputy Leader of the Federal Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Senator Mark Furner (Member of the Australia-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group and of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade) participated in the conference.

Conference discussions focussed on opportunities to advance the Australia-Japan relationship after the tragic earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, including in the fields of political, strategic and defence cooperation, trade and economic cooperation with a particular focus on reform, and people-to-people links.

Japanese participants expressed heartfelt appreciation for the assistance provided by Australian governments, businesses and individuals in the aftermath of the March disasters. They acknowledged the significance of Prime Minister Gillard’s visit to Japan in April 2011 as the first foreign leader to visit the disaster-affected areas. Participants agreed that the nature and scale of Australia’s assistance highlighted and reinforced the strength of the friendship between Australia and Japan.

The main outcomes of the Conference discussions are outlined below.

Political, strategic and defence cooperation


  • welcomed the continued strengthening of the comprehensive strategic, security and economic partnership between Australia and Japan in recent years, noting that this partnership, together with both countries’ alliances with the United States, represented an increasingly important pillar of regional security and prosperity in the context of the shift of economic and strategic weight to the Asia-Pacific region;
  • noted that Japan’s security relationship with Australia was second only to its alliance with the United States, as evidenced by the deployment only by Australia and the United States of military assets to contribute to relief activities in Japan following the March 2011 disasters;
  • noted that the strong record of cooperation between Australia and Japan in the fields of peacekeeping and disaster relief served as a foundation for wider security cooperation, and in this regard welcomed the signature of an Acquisition and Cross-Serving Agreement and the frequent joint military exercises involving Australia and Japan, and called on the two governments to consider developing arrangements to regularise the defence relationship;
  • urged the two governments, as well as academia and the media in the two countries, to take steps to enhance public understanding of strategic dialogue and security cooperation as significant and growing facets of the bilateral relationship;
  • recognised the potential for exchanges in the field of defence-related technology and materiel to contribute to deeper security cooperation between Australia and Japan;
  • recognised the importance of cooperation on cyber-security, working in partnership with the broader community;
  • underlined the significance of regular “2+2” meetings between foreign and defence ministers and of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue, and looked forward to the next meetings of these dialogues being convened at an early date;
  • urged the two governments to continue collaborating to improve regional and global architecture, notably through the G20, APEC and the East Asia Summit, and to maintain momentum in their cooperation in addressing global challenges such as nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament;
  • called on the two governments to make efforts to reinvigorate the Young Political Leaders Exchange to foster mutual understanding and ongoing linkages between future generations of political leaders.

Trade and economic cooperation


  • noted that the economic relationship between Australia and Japan continued to make a fundamental contribution to the prosperity of both countries, with rapid growth in two-way trade and investment in recent years;
  • urged the two governments to conclude negotiations on a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement / Free Trade Agreement (EPA/FTA) in order to unlock the full potential of the bilateral economic partnership;
  • underlined the past and future benefits for both countries of economic reform to open markets and improve productivity, and noted that ambitious structural and trade reform in Japan, including in the agricultural sector, would contribute to a comprehensive Australia-Japan EPA/FTA and to Japan’s involvement in regional economic integration;
  • called for two-way visits and exchanges between Australian and Japanese farmers, including women and youth, to promote mutual understanding of the respective agricultural sectors of Australia and Japan and of successful approaches to agricultural modernisation and reform;
  • welcomed Australia’s contribution to Japan’s energy security through a stable and reliable supply of energy resources, including rapid growth in the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas supported by major Japanese investment in Australia’s LNG sector;
  • welcomed the expansion of cooperation by Australian and Japanese businesses beyond bilateral partnerships, by combining their respective strengths and shared values to work together in third countries in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region, including in the field of infrastructure.

People-to-people links


  • agreed that strong people-to-people ties represented a vital foundation for the security and economic partnership between Australia and Japan;
  • expressed concern at the declining numbers of Australians studying Asian languages, including Japanese, and of young Australian scholars pursuing specialist studies in Japanese economics, politics and culture, and called on the two governments and the private sector to increase incentives and provide funding and demonstrated career pathways for Japan specialists;
  • recalled the recommendations of the Joint Australia-Japan Working Group for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education and People-to-People Exchange endorsed by participants at the sixth Australia-Japan Conference, including the suggestion of national Australia-Japan Focus Reference Group, and noted that the Australian Government was assessing the feasibility of a “reverse JET” program as recommended by the Joint Working Group;
  • welcomed ongoing Japanese efforts to enhance visiting programs for business people, university students and high-school students under the JENESYS program sponsored by the Japanese Government.

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Sixth Australia-Japan Conference, Canberra, 11-12 February 2010

Co-chairs' statement

The Sixth Australia-Japan Conference was held in Canberra 11–12 February 2010.  The Conference was co-chaired by Sir Rod Eddington, Chairman of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, and Mr Akio Mimura, Chairman of the Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee. 

Participants included eminent representatives from politics, business, academia, think-tanks and media in both countries.  Australia's Foreign Minister, the Hon Stephen Smith MP, addressed Conference participants, and the Chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Senator Michael Forshaw, participated in the Conference.  Japan's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Tetsuro Fukuyama, participated in the Conference and delivered Japan's keynote address.

Conference discussions focussed on three broad themes:  political and strategic cooperation, trade and economic cooperation, and people-to-people links.  The main outcomes of the Conference discussions are outlined below.


Conference participants considered that Australia and Japan were on the threshold of a significant expansion of their cooperation on political and strategic issues.  They observed that cooperation on global issues in multilateral fora had progressed and should be expanded even further, noting that Australia and Japan were able to achieve more in these areas when they worked together.  They:

  • Welcomed the rapid progress in bilateral security and defence cooperation, and urged the two Governments to expand further their cooperation in peace-keeping, post-conflict reconstruction, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and to cooperate more on development assistance.
  • Reaffirmed the vital role of strong and effective Australia-US and Japan-US alliances in underpinning stability in the region as a whole, and welcomed growing trilateral Australia-Japan-United States strategic cooperation.
  • Urged the two Governments to expand their cooperation to include the full range of global issues, including climate change, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, UN reform and economic development.
  • Welcomed Australian and Japanese leadership in promoting discussions on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including in the context of the report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), and urged the two Governments to deepen dialogue on international nuclear safeguards, safety, security and related issues.
  • Welcomed continued Australian and Japanese leadership in shaping the development of regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific region and called on both Governments to deepen their discussions and coordination on this issue.
  • Noted that regional prosperity was best achieved through global, regional and bilateral trade and investment liberalisation and a commitment to open regionalism.
  • Welcomed the deepening of trilateral dialogue and cooperation among Japan, the Republic of Korea, and China, noting that this helped to enhance regional stability.
  • Urged experts in both countries to deepen their dialogue on challenges and opportunities resulting from emerging trends in East Asia.


Conference participants considered that the bilateral trade and investment relationship remained vital to both countries in the changing international environment, and noted that it was important not to take that relationship for granted.  The economic relationship was highly complementary and had much potential for further growth.  Australia was a safe and reliable supplier of food and resources and a world-class financial services centre.  Japanese investment remained vital to Australia's economy.  Recent strong growth in two-way investment flows was a positive sign of mutual confidence at a time of global economic difficulty.  Participants:

  • Urged both Governments to ensure all necessary steps were taken domestically and globally to accelerate economic recovery, including continued targeted and sustainable economic stimulus measures and improvements in global financial governance.
  • Welcomed the consolidation of the G20, which includes Australia and Japan, as the key forum to discuss international economic issues, and called on both Governments to work actively and cooperatively in the G20 in the future.
  • Urged both Governments to continue to work to reach a successful conclusion to the WTO Doha Round of trade negotiations, to assist global economic recovery and to lay the basis for sustainable global growth.
  • Noted the strong support among business in both countries for a Free Trade Agreement/Economic Partnership Agreement and urged both Governments to move forward in their negotiations in order to conclude a comprehensive, high-quality and mutually-beneficial agreement.
  • Noted that the services sector dominated both economies, presenting significant but unrealised complementarities in the trade and investment relationship especially financial services where Australia has world-class strengths, and called for these opportunities to be further explored.
  • Encouraged Australian firms to increase their profile in, and level of investment into, Japan.
  • Noted that Japan attached great importance to Australia continuing to be a safe and reliable supplier of exports to Japan.
  • Called on business and government to explore opportunities for cooperation between Australian and Japanese companies in third countries, particularly in the provision of infrastructure in Asia, and welcomed the work of the Australia-Japan and Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committees in promoting a system of public-private infrastructure financing.
  • Called on both Governments to work closely together in shaping international and domestic responses to the challenge of climate change, including by sharing experiences on domestic responses, collaboration in the development of clean energy technology, and working together in international fora.

People-to-people links

Conference participants considered the people-to-people relationship to be in good order, with positive public perceptions on both sides of the relationship, and an extensive and organic network of people-to-people ties.  They highlighted the need continually to reinforce the value of the relationship to the public in both countries, and felt that stronger parliamentary exchanges were vital to this.  They:

  • Emphasised the importance of regular and frequent exchanges between parliamentarians and Diet Members and called for increased exchanges.
  • Welcomed and endorsed the report prepared by the joint working group, co-chaired by Mr Tim Lester and Professor Masami Sekine, on ways to enhance the effectiveness of Japanese language learning in Australia, and called on the Australian and Japanese Governments and the business and academic communities to be ambitious in considering its recommendations.
  • Welcomed the efforts already made by the Australian Government to support Japanese language learning through the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program.
  • Welcomed recent Japanese efforts to enhance visiting programs for business people, university students and high-school students under the JENESYS program sponsored by the Japanese Government.
  • Welcomed the long-standing contributions of the Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) and the Japan Foundation to furthering people-to-people links.
  • Supported the important role of sister-city, sister-State, and other ties in enhancing people-to-people exchanges between Australians and Japanese.
  • Urged both Governments to continue to make efforts to find a solution to the whaling issue through dialogue, and agreed that the issue should not affect the priority given to the comprehensive strategic, security and economic partnership between the two countries.


Strengthening Japanese Language Learning In Support Of The Australia-Japan Business And Academic Relationship (PDF - 78 KB) | (RTF - 290 KB)

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Fifth Australia-Japan Conference, Tokyo, 19 November 2008

The Fifth Australia-Japan Conference was held in Tokyo on 19 November 2008. Established in 1999, Australia-Japan Conferences are significant events on the bilateral Australia-Japan calendar and have generated and promoted new ideas and initiatives in support of the bilateral relationship. This year was no exception.

This year’s Conference, hosted by Japan, was co-chaired by Sir Rod Eddington, Chairman of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, and Mr Akio Mimura, Chairman of the Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee. Japanese Prime Minister, the Hon Taro Aso, and Australia’s Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson, addressed the Conference.

Conference invitees included senior representatives from politics, business, academia and the media. This year’s Conference participants embraced the challenge set by the Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan in June, when the Prime Ministers called on the Australia-Japan Conference to present forward-looking recommendations for future Australia-Japan relations. Discussion covered four main themes: political/security cooperation, trade/economic cooperation, the environment and climate change, and people to people links. Participants engaged in a free flowing discussion and explored opportunities and challenges for the relationship in light of significant developments such as the global financial crisis, climate change, the evolving regional strategic environment and changing demographics. The co-Chairs issued a statement on the Conference’s outcomes highlighting key issues in the current and future bilateral relationship (below).

Co-Chairs' statement

The Fifth Australia-Japan Conference was held at Mita Kaigisho on 19 November 2008. The Conference was co-chaired by Sir Rod Eddington, Chairman of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, and Mr Akio Mimura, Chairman of the Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee. Participants included eminent representatives of politics, business, academia and media from both countries. Japan’s Prime Minister, the Hon Taro Aso, and Australia’s Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson MP, addressed the Conference.

Participants underscored that Australia and Japan are natural and indispensable partners, with a sixty-year history of close cooperation based on shared strategic interests and democratic values, economic complementarities and warm people-to-people links, and presented forward-looking recommendations for the future of the bilateral relationship.

The key and general outcomes of the conference discussions are outlined below.


  • Agreed that a close strategic relationship between Australia and Japan will be of growing importance to both countries and encouraged both Governments to further promote security and defence cooperation.
  • Agreed on the importance of deep engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, strong alliance ties with the United States, and comprehensive involvement in multilateral institutions to the bilateral relationship and the international policies of both countries.
  • Called on both Government to work together to shape regional and global institutions able to address effectively current and emerging challenges.
  • Welcomed the continued steady growth in Japan’s role in international security. Urged both Governments to continue to work closely to address key challenges including in the multilateral context, and to enhance further practical cooperation on disaster relief, peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction, governance, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, pandemics, disarmament and non-proliferation.
  • Urged both Governments to work closely with the new US Administration bilaterally and trilaterally and to encourage continued and closer US strategic and economic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Welcomed the growth of China and India as beneficial to the economies of both Australia and Japan as well as to the Asia Pacific region as a whole. Urged both Governments to work cooperatively with both countries to ensure that their rise contributes constructively to the international system, including through their comprehensive engagement.


  • Discussed ways in which Australia and Japan can address the global financial crisis and welcomed the outcomes of the G20 meting in Washington as well as the emergence of the G20 as a key forum to discuss international financial issues.
  • Urged both Governments to continue to work together to bring about a successful conclusion to the WTO Doha Round of trade negotiations to assist in the global economic recovery.
  • Noted the high degree of complementarities between the two economies and the strong support of business in Japan and Australia for an FTA/EPA and urged both Governments to show flexibility in order to conclude a comprehensive and high quality FTA/EPA, taking into account the interests and sensitivities of both sides.
  • Agreed on the importance of safety and security in food supply, noting that Australia, as a supplier of safe and high-quality food, can play a role in helping to ensure that Japan’s food security needs are met.
  • Urged both Governments to continue with urgently-needed structural economic reform as a key element in achieving stronger growth in both countries and to boosting bilateral trade.
  • Emphasised the potential for expanded bilateral trade in services.

Environment/climate change

  • Agreed that climate change presents real and significant global challenges that require a coordinated global response, and that Australia and Japan should work closely and actively together to help shape that response.
  • Noted that decisions by both Governments on emission reduction will present both opportunities and challenges and will lead to structural reform in both economies.
  • Agreed on the vital role that new technology must play in responses to climate change and urged both Governments to collaborate intensively on efforts to find technological solutions to alleviating the problem of climate change.
  • Welcomed Australia’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) initiative and Japan’s proposed sectoral approach as important elements of the global policy response.
  • Supported efforts by Australia and Japan to build capacity in developing countries to tackle climate change and alleviate its impact, including technological transfer and support.

People-to-people exchanges

  • Encouraged increased exchanges of parliamentarians and Diet Members. Welcomed the long-standing contributions of the Australia Japan Foundation (AJF) and Japan Foundation to bilateral people-to-people links. Noted the importance of student and young peoples’ exchanges in fostering relations between future generations of Australian and Japanese leaders. Encouraged closer cooperation in education, including in advanced studies, science and research, and tertiary school exchanges.
  • Decided to jointly review, at the request of Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, the role language learning can play in promoting people-to-people exchange and to put together recommendations for strengthening the linkage between Japanese language learning in tertiary education and that in advanced studies as well as businesses in the lead-up to the next Australia-Japan Conference.
  • Noted the key role that tourism had played in shaping peoples’ understanding of each country and discussed ways to promote closer tourism exchanges in light of growing competition from other markets and changing economic circumstances.
  • Urged both Governments to continue diplomatic efforts to find a mutually-acceptable solution to the whaling issues and agreed that the issue should not affect other cooperation.

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Fourth Australia-Japan Conference, Tokyo, 23 June 2006

Co-Chairs' Statement

The Fourth Australia-Japan Conference was held at Mita Kaigisho in Tokyo on 23rd June, 2006. The Conference commemorated the Japan-Australia Year of Exchange, and covered wide range of issues including political/security, economic/trade and cultural/ people-to-people exchange.

The Co-chairs of the meeting were Mr. Minoru Murofushi, Vice-Chairman of the Japan Australia Business Cooperation Committee and Mr. Hugh Morgan, Chairman of Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee. Other participants included eminent representatives of politics, business, academia, journalism and government from both countries. Mr Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr Tony Abbott, Leader of the House and Minister for Health and Aging of Australia gave keynote addresses at the opening session.

The key and general outcomes of the conference discussions are outlined below.


  • Discussed issues related to cooperation and stability in Asia-Pacific region. Recognized that China's rising economic power provides new opportunities in the region and agreed that China's constructive engagement is important for stability and prosperity in the region. Agree on the need for the DPRK to behave responsibly, including in relation to its nuclear and ballistic missile development and Japanese abductees.
  • Emphasized the importance of closer cooperation between Australia and Japan to further to develop effective regional architecture, including in the context of APEC, EAS, ARF and AP6.
  • Agreed that Japan and Australia are natural partners for cooperation on political/security issues, being two democracies with shared values.
  • Appreciated closer cooperation between Australia and Japan on regional and global security issues, as seen in such areas as Al Muthanna in Iraq, East Timor and Pacific Island countries, and recommended the governments of Australia and Japan continue to work closely together.
  • Urged governments to continue to expand the bilateral strategic relationship, including the possibility of elevating the bilateral defence relationship.
  • Identified the following as possible areas for strengthened cooperation in the near future, particularly with a view to greater practical collaboration:
    • Stability and stronger governance of developing countries/post-conflict reconstruction
    • Humanitarian assistance in time of disaster, and
    • Non-proliferation, counter-terrorism and energy security.
  • In order for Australia and Japan to work together most effectively in areas such as peacekeeping and disaster relief, the need for a more practical focus on achieving greater interoperability and coordination was raised, including more joint exercising and training.
  • Welcomed the continued commitment of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. Further welcomed the significant development of trilateral security relations, including through collaboration in Iraq and the elevation of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) to ministerial level.


  • Reflecting the importance both sides attached to the Multilateral Trading System (MTS), called on the two governments to cooperate to achieve an ambitious and balanced outcome in the WTO Doha Development Round, noting this would create a more favourable environment for further trade liberalisation and recognising the complementary role of FTA/EPA in the MTS.
  • Noted the rapid progress in economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region and the need for such economic integration to be both open and inclusive.
  • Noted that by concluding a high quality FTA/EPA, Australia and Japan can show leadership in the process of regional integration.
  • Noted Japan and Australia are market based economies and natural economic partners, with a complementary trading relationship and are the second and seventh largest economies in the region with important and growing services sectors.
  • Agreed that a comprehensive FTA/EPA would help realise the partnership's full potential.
  • Appreciated progress of the Joint Study and its decision to accelerate its work.
  • Recalling consecutive joint statements by JABCC (Japan Australia Business Cooperation Committee) and AJBCC (Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee), called on the two governments to finalise the Joint Study by the end of this year and to start negotiations on a comprehensive, WTO consistent EPA/FTA in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Japan Australia Agreement on Commerce.
  • Recognised the need to explore ways to create mutual benefits including in the agriculture sector.
  • Recognized the merits of an EPA/FTA between Japan and Australia for the economies of the two countries and for economic dynamism in the Asia-Pacific region, while also recognizing sensitivities in both countries, and the need for flexibility by both countries to conclude successfully any negotiations.
  • Reaffirming the continued importance of trade in natural resources and food between Australia and Japan, recognised the potential for an FTA/EPA to provide greater certainty and security to bilateral trade in vital commodities such as energy, minerals and safe food.
  • Anticipated that such an FTA/EPA would be the basis for the economic partnership for the next 50 years, and that it would need to be a high quality FTA/EPA improving trading arrangements for goods and services, making investments and the movement of business people easier and addressing issues such as intellectual property, competition policy and government procurement.

Cultural/ People-to people exchange

  • Agreed that people-to-people exchange was the foundation for any political and economic partnership
  • Appreciated grass root participation for YOE, including the over 500 events now taking place.
  • Agreed on the importance of enhanced exchanges beyond YOE, which are targeted and likely to bring a practical and positive legacy to the overall relationship.
  • Recognised the need for greater mobility of the highly skilled people to promote intellectual exchanges and economic dynamism.
  • Noting that the exchange of young generation, such as students, is effective to achieve a more contemporary mutual understanding, encouraged any further contribution governments can make to education exchange through scholarships and other means.
  • Agreed that sharing language was a basis for mutual understanding, and that the study of Japanese and English learning be more encouraged.
  • Strengthen Sports and arts exchange as a common currency for communication and mutual understanding.
  • Urged action to encourage more visitors from Australia to Japan and vice versa, noting the "Visit Japan Campaign" and "Visit One Million" project.
  • Called on the governments to consider ways to enhance Australian and Japanese studies in both countries, including through exchanges of academics.
  • Welcomed the longstanding contribution of the Australia Japan Foundation (AJF) to people-to-people links, and the strengthening of its role that its current restructuring would bring. Welcomed also the longstanding contribution of the Japan Foundation to exchanges between the two countries.
  • Encouraged the AJF and the Japan Foundation to continue to give focus in their activities on conveying a contemporary and advanced vision of the other.
  • Encouraged increased high level exchanges including visits by Prime Ministers, with a view to further strengthening the bilateral relations.

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Third Australia-Japan Conference, Melbourne, 11-12 February 2005

Co-Chairs' Statement


The Australia-Japan trade and economic relationship is a fundamental element of a broader strategic partnership of great significance to both countries. Both are key economies in the East Asian region, with shared values and interests. We support each other's full and active participation in the region's forums for policy dialogue and cooperation.

Regional economic integration is proceeding rapidly, and Australia and Japan are concluding FTAs with third countries. Trade and investment links with China in particular are growing strongly. It is important that enhancement of Australia–Japan economic relations keep pace with these broader regional developments.

While bilateral trade and economic links are strong, both sides should examine mechanisms to deepen the relationship. This should encompass an economic partnership agreement, including the examination of the feasibility of an FTA that would be substantive and support reform in both countries. Sensitive sectors are perceived as a challenge, on the Japanese side in particular. But there is momentum in Japan in reform and a demonstrated willingness to include such sectors in ongoing FTA negotiations in order to achieve economy-wide benefits. There is scope for updating bilateral social security and taxation arrangements.

Resources security is an emerging issue. Maintaining close dialogue and cooperation in this area will remain important. Food security too would be enhanced by greater engagement and bilateral dialogue on food and agriculture issues, including direct investment.

Services trade is of great importance in the global economy. Liberalising services trade, including the movement of people, creates business opportunities and can assist with addressing the social challenges we both face, such as the ageing of our populations.

Both countries are strongly committed to contributing to economic development in the region. Strengthened bilateral dialogue and cooperation in APEC and the ADB should improve further the effectiveness of this aid effort, including in areas such as governance, education, logistics and legal and accounting frameworks. Continuing Australia–Japan cooperation on strengthening financial stability in the region remains vitally important.

Both countries share a common vision of the development of regional cooperation. In particular, both support the evolution of inclusive, open, transparent and market-based frameworks on the basis of universally recognised values and principles. Elaboration of our joint vision of an East Asian community, along with partners in the region, would be a useful area of further discussion in the future.


The international security environment has changed significantly over the last 15 years. Traditional security challenges remain, especially the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait, but we also face a range of transnational challenges, including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, SARS, HIV/AIDS, and natural disasters. Maritime security, vitally important to the economies of both countries, is a key concern.

Australia and Japan also have to manage the opportunities and challenges posed by the changing power balance in the region, and particularly the emergence of China as a key player – not only as a result of its economic growth, but also its increasing political and diplomatic weight.

While both countries' defence and security policies have evolved since the first two conferences, shifts in Japan have been particularly significant.

These changes have considerably broadened the scope for Australia-Japan collaboration in the political and security sphere. Australia and Japan are economically developed liberal democracies with close ties throughout Asia. As such, we are uniquely placed to address regional transnational security threats. Furthermore, our respective alliances with the United States provide the opportunity for us to work together with the United States, as well as bilaterally, to address common concerns. Already, Australia and Japan are working together to build counter-terrorism capacity and to promote counter-proliferation outreach strategies.

Although the UN remains a key institution in addressing security issues, there is an urgent need for reform to ensure its continued legitimacy and effectiveness. Australia and Japan could work together to promote such reform. Australian participants reiterated their support for Japan's bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

The regional security agenda provides great scope for undertaking 'functional cooperation' in accordance with our vision of an East Asian community. Elaborating on areas for cooperation, for example threats to maritime security, would be useful.

But it is important too to look beyond 'hard' security issues to the human dimension of the challenges we face. There would be benefit in looking at concrete projects, for example in the development assistance that we provide to Pacific island states, to East Timor, and following the Indian Ocean tsunami. Peace-building and conflict prevention are other areas in which collaboration would be of value.

Second and 1.5 track dialogues (including that initiated by previous Australia–Japan conference participants) have been useful in identifying emerging issues and mechanisms for dealing with them. There may be scope to build further on some of these dialogues – for example by developing channels of communication with inter-governmental processes.

Participants suggested that Australia and Japan might increase cooperation – at official or non-official levels – on the following key issues:

  1. human security, in particular disaster relief and peace building;
  2. sharing ideas for UN reform;
  3. development of regional structures, including Australia-Japan-US dialogues; and
  4. maritime security.


The Year of Exchange in 2006 provides an excellent opportunity for Australia and Japan to expand networks across the fields of culture, education and science. It is hoped that the Year will leave a lasting legacy of stronger people to people links.

There would be merit in expanding collaborative programs with the exchange of artists, curators and administrators. Such programs would complement and have a longer-term impact than exchange of artists themselves. Expanding links in contemporary arts also offers scope for updating perceptions.

The development of two-way tourism is a means for enhancing awareness of each other, in addition to the commercial benefits this brings. Japanese tourists have visited Australia in large numbers for many years. Japan's intention to run a "Visit Japan" campaign in Australia next year is welcome and will help to balance the flow of tourism, which to date has largely been one way. It will build on growing interest in visiting Japanese ski resorts among Australians and could usefully target Australians transiting Japan en route to Europe.

Our science and technology links are longstanding, but offer considerable additional scope for expansion. Both government have specific plans for developing their science and technology capacity. There is further scope for dialogue to promote sharing of scarce resources such as science infrastructure, taking advantage of complementarities and benefits from the avoidance of duplication.

Both countries have shared interests in marine issues in particular, including biotechnology, environment, tourism and piracy aspects of this. Another area of considerable mutual interest is healthcare particularly in the context of ageing populations in both countries. This would include such issues as the training of professionals and collaboration in research into pharmaceuticals.

Dialogue on IP is a further area of the science and technology relationship that merits consideration. Issues such as the enforcement of IP rules and the possibility for creating "combined markets" for the purposes of exploiting scale efficiencies in the marketing of discoveries would be worth examining.

Both countries have considerable experience in hosting foreign students. There is a fairly high level of bilateral exchange in between educational institutions in form of student and staff exchanges. There is, however, scope for considerable further collaboration on education, to encourage further bilateral exchange, as well as collaboration in providing services to third countries.

Our location in the same time zone offers scope for greatly expanded e-learning collaboration. Also, in Japan there is increased emphasis on English-language education, in particular on listening skills, while in Australia enhancement of Japanese-language learning should be encouraged. This too presents opportunities for e-learning collaboration between Australian and Japanese institutions.

There may be scope in particular for collaboration in education in such fields as business management, public policy, risk management and vocational education including in tourism.

To facilitate this exchange issues for both sides to examine include addressing bottlenecks in e-learning, fees, and credit transfers. Links to industry through workplace placements were emphasises as a way of enhancing education exchanges.

Forums set up to examine these issues in more detail may be useful means of pursuing them further.

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Second Australia-Japan Conference, Tokyo, 7-8 November 2002

Co-chairs' Statement

I. Background

  1. The Australia-Japan relationship is one of the most successful bilateral relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. From the ashes of World War II, the two countries have built a strong partnership in the region on the basis of shared values and principles. In recent years, however, and at the direction of their Prime Ministers, both nations have embarked on a process to strengthen the relationship further to meet the challenges of the early 21st Century.
  2. Consistent with this objective, the Australia - Japan Conference for the 21st Century was convened in April 2001 in Sydney. At this Conference, leaders from various sectors participated and conducted a series of active and fruitful discussions on the future bilateral partnership in areas such as the strategic and political relationship, trade and economic linkages, culture, social issues and science / technology. Those discussions led to the publication of the "Sydney Declaration for Australia - Japan Creative Partnership", in which recommendations were cited with regard to new co-operation initiatives and mutual understanding providing the basis for them.
  3. Subsequently, a number of recommendations in the Sydney Declaration were introduced into the joint press statement, "Australia - Japan Creative Partnership", between the Prime Ministers of both countries on the occasion of Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to Australia in May 2002.
  4. Following the press statement, the recommendations from the Sydney Declaration have become reality, for example, in the following way.
    1. Strengthened Co-operation between the two governments
      • The governments of both countries have stepped up consultations, in the political and security areas, to promote mutual understanding of each other's policies and to co-ordinate their actions on such issues as terrorism, PKO operations in East Timor, UN issues and trans-national issues.
    2. 1.5 Security Dialogue ( 2-3 September, Canberra )
      • Government officials and academic researchers held a joint dialogue to exchange views on regional security, counter-terrorism measures and individual issues of concern in the Asia-Pacific region.
    3. Economic Consultations between the Governments ( 2-3 September, Tokyo )
      • The Sydney Declaration called for a trade and investment facilitation agreement (TIFA), and this prompted the establishment of the high level economic consultations to explore all the options for deeper economic linkages between the two countries, as agreed by the Prime Ministers in May. The first round of director-level consultations, which is the first step in the process, was held in Tokyo at the beginning of September.
    4. Social and Cultural Exchanges
      • Both countries have continued to strengthen educational, cultural, social, science and technology relations. Initiatives included the inaugural Australia-Japan Higher Education Forum ( May 2002 ), the first Australia-Japan Biomedical symposium to be held in Australia in February 2003, substantive Australian participation in Japan's Nanotechnology Forum ( also in February 2003 ), the launch of Australia's "vision one million" strategy to increase tourism links and active cultural and people-to-people programs.
  5. During his visit to Australia, Prime Minister Koizumi reiterated his vision for a regional community including Australia that "acts together and advances together", which he first proposed in his policy speech in Singapore in January. In order to formulate such a community, he emphasised a need to accumulate the experiences of functional co-operation, for example, the initiatives involving a wide range of regional countries in such areas as PKO operations in East Timor, trans-national issues like people smuggling and money laundering, and regional economic linkages.
  6. Australia has given its support for Prime Minister Koizumi's vision, and much of the recent co-operative activities between the two nations have been consistent with its spirit. Australia has also promoted its own regional initiatives in a manner that complements Mr. Koizumi's objectives. Australia has played a major role in the peace keeping operations in East Timor, and strengthened their co-operation with Indonesia to the extent that the two countries jointly hosted high-level regional meetings on trans-national issues and that they concluded a memorandum of understanding on terrorism. Australia has signed a similar MOU with Malaysia and Thailand, and started negotiations with the Philippines to this end.
  7. On the other hand, new international issues of significance have emerged after the Sydney Declaration. The following two aspects are of particular relevance.
    1. Security Issues
      • Since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, there had been a growing recognition of a need for strengthened counter-terrorism measures, and that was felt even more strongly after the bombing attacks in Bali on 12 October. Ways and modalities of co-operation between Australia and Japan as well as in the region are being explored. Another striking development, which has particular relevance from a point of view of regional security, is the recent moves of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
    2. Initiatives for Deeper Economic Linkages in East Asia
      • Japan has conducted research and consultations towards the promotion of economic partnership with the ASEAN countries and Korea, while Australia has concluded FTA negotiations with Singapore and commenced negotiations with Thailand, and signed a closer economic partnership agreement between AFTA and CER. China has also proposed an FTA with ASEAN. As initiatives have been actively pursued for deeper economic linkages in the region, there is now a need for Australia and Japan to explore all the options for deeper economic linkage between themselves.

II. Conference Organisation

  1. The Australia-Japan Conference for a Creative Partnership was held at Mita Kaigisho in Tokyo from 7 to 8 November 2002. On the basis of the background mentioned above, the objective of the Conference was to explore bilateral cooperation between Australia and Japan, including in the regional context. The discussions were on political and security issues, economic, and social and cultural issues. The conference contributed to the public awareness in both countries of the necessity and value of regional engagement by the two countries.
  2. The Co-chairs of the meeting were Mr. Minoru Murofushi, Chairman of ITOCHU Corporation, and Mr. Jeremy Ellis, Chairman of Australia Japan Foundation. Other participants included eminent representatives of business, academia and government from both countries. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Mr. Alexander Downer and the Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Tetsuro Yano gave keynote addresses at the opening session.
  3. The plenary session discussed the impact of recent international developments on 'Expanding East Asian Community', the role of Australia and Japan in the region as partners, and the method and modality of formulating a community in the region.
  4. Breakaway groups focussed on four crucial areas of the bilateral relationship. Group I dealt with political and security issues and discussed how Australia and Japan can cooperate in a new security environment, including initiatives to combat terrorism. Group II discussion focused on the prospect for economic linkages and financial co-operation in East Asia and on the initiatives for deeper economic linkage between Australia and Japan. Group III exchanged views on e-learning as a means of education and communication. Group IV debated the role of science and technology for the aging society.

III. Recommendations from the Conference

  1. The Conference made a range of recommendations on how Australia and Japan could cooperate to strengthen the bilateral relationship and to make contributions in the regional context.
  2. As a result of the discussions, there was a general consensus on the following points.
    1. Cooperation and exchanges of views on a wide range of environment issues should be enhanced both in the public and private sectors.
    2. There is now a clear need to take a cross-sectoral approach in analyzing the current situation in the region, because political, security, economic, social or cultural issues are more and more inter-linked under the current circumstances.
    3. In order to promote Prime Minister Koizumi's vision for a regional community, it is required to create and implement various regional initiatives jointly promoted by both countries. In this context, further discussions on such initiatives should be conducted with participation from both government and private sectors.
    4. In order to get more people involved in bilateral initiatives and exchanges, the possibility of declaring "Australia-Japan Exchange Year" at an appropriate timing should be explored.
  3. The individual working groups had in-depth discussions on the issues assigned to them, and produced meaningful recommendations.
  4. Working Group I (political and Security) agreed that Japan and Australia were moving beyond the simple recognition of shared interests to looking at ways in which our two countries could undertake practical co-operative measures to give effect to those shared political and security interests. The group agreed that this practical co-operation was all the more pressing in light of the current regional and international security environment, specifically in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September and the Bali bombings. The group also agreed that this environment allowed for a wide range of possible bilateral co-operative activities.
  5. In this context, the group I identified a number of priority areas in which Japan and Australia could develop their co-operation for the benefit of the bilateral relationship and the region more broadly. These areas were:
    1. Broad regional security issues, including:
      • evolving strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, and
      • the enduring value and importance of Australia's and Japan's alliances with the United States.
    2. Transnational security threats, most particularly terrorism
      • noting the importance of closer bilateral co-operation, and
      • looking at what Japan and Australia could do to promote broader regional co-operation on transnational issues.
    3. Practical support measures for regional neighbours in transition,
      • particularly with respect to promoting regional stability and security, and
      • strengthening institutions and capacity-building.
    4. Enhanced defence co-operation, including in the area of peacekeeping
      • noting the progress already underway in this field, including the draft
      • "Action Plan" proposed during former Minister of State for Defence Nakatani's visit to Australia in August 2002.
  6. The working group proposed the above suggestions for the consideration of both governments, with a view to undertaking further work at the direction of government on specific proposals to take forward cooperation - including through the convening of specialized 1.5 track dialogues. In this context, the working group welcomed the 1.5 track security dialogue held in Canberra on 2-3 September and called for the continuation of this process.
  7. Working group II (economic) discussed regional and bilateral dimensions of the Australia-Japan economic relationship. Three recommendations came out of the discussion.

A. Promoting Bilateral Economic Integration

  1. The working group strongly supported broad-based integration between our two economies which would boost economic growth in both countries.
    • It endorsed current official dialogue which is exploring options for deepening and extending the bilateral economic relationship. The working group supported an ambitious and balanced trade and economic agreement.
    • The working group emphasised the value of a new framework in delivering commercial benefits to both countries, for example through enhanced mutual recognition arrangements, strengthened regulatory linkages, and cooperative activities in new and emerging areas. It would also form a natural element in the economic integration process in the region. As developed economies, Australia and Japan can work together to develop models and benchmarks for region-wide cooperative measures. Such an arrangement would also reinforce both countries' support for a strong and effective multilateral trading system and be consistent with APEC goals and principles.
    • Governments should regularly engage with the private sector at all stages of this process including at implementation.

B. Partners to Promote Stability in East Asia

  1. Australia and Japan are well placed to work together to promote economic and financial stability in East Asia.
    • The time has come to think about new regional mechanisms to promote stability. With our partners in the rest of the region, Australia and Japan should work towards the establishment of a mechanism, such as an Asian Monetary Fund, to enhance policy dialogue, surveillance, and financial cooperation to prevent and resolve financial crises in the region.
    • There is also substantial scope for Australia and Japan to cooperate in upgrading and harmonising standards and practices in regional financial markets.

C. Expanding Commercial Opportunities

  1. Australia and Japan are dynamic economies and exciting commercial opportunities have emerged.
    • These include sectors like biotechnology, nanotechnology, information and communications technology, manufacturing, and education, health and other services. Many of these firms are small or medium sized, so we recommend that existing business bodies and financial and business intermediaries (including venture capitalists) revisit how they reach out to and support these firms, including in R&D and commercialisation. Governments should provide practical support to such SMEs. Participants thought that the services sector would become increasingly important in bilateral and regional commerce. Australia has particular expertise in providing training and education.
    • Changes are being discussed in Japan to promote business investment in agriculture and there are new opportunities for Japanese investment in food production in Australia. Informal dialogue, bringing farmers, business, academics and officials together in their private capacities, may be a useful way to discuss these issues.
  2. Working Group III (e-learning as a means of education and exchange) shared information on experiences with the development and delivery of educational content using multimedia broadcasting and on-line technologies in schools, higher education and for lifelong learning. The growing collaboration and exchange of educational materials between institutions both nationally and internationally was noted.
  3. The working group discussed e-learning in the context of the increased internationalisation of education, improved quality of learning, increased pressures on the cost of higher education and the increasing need for flexible course delivery to meet changing learner profiles. A range of positive benefits from e-learning were identified. Participants recognised the importance of face-to-face and in-country experience and saw e-learning as a means of adding value to this.
  4. Delegates discussed an increasing demand for online course-content and noted the scope for increased access to education made possible by online delivery. This included the potential for Australia and Japan to work more closely to contribute to the educational needs of each other and of developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region. The importance of providing ongoing professional development opportunities to enable teachers to develop and make best use of online course content was noted.
  5. Suggested areas for future bilateral cooperation recommended by the working group were:
    • Undertake a joint review by 2004 of existing e-learning language programs in both Japanese and English with a particular emphasis on aural skills and with a view to building on the most effective approaches and models for on-line and combined delivery. For example, by addressing the need for an e-learning product that supports the new aural English language skills being emphasised in Japanese schools.
    • Jointly investigate and identify initiatives by the end of 2004 that contribute to enhanced educational opportunities in developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region that would draw on the cooperative strengths of Japan and Australia and build shared understanding of common concerns (eg the environment and health).
    • Recognise the importance of increased awareness of cultures between our two countries by collaborating to develop e-learning opportunities that are internationalised in content and form. Examples of this might include developing content that includes the use of case studies from each others' countries and participation in online activities by synchronous and asynchronous means.
    • Identify e-learning opportunities by the end of 2003 where collaboration will lead to more effective outcomes than would occur were we to work separately, with particular focus on the actions noted above.

Working Group IV (science and technology for the ageing) discussed the common issues facing both countries in relation to population ageing, particularly the need to improve the quality of life for older people through the use of innovative technologies. People in Australia and Japan enjoy the longest and healthiest life expectancies in the world. The challenge for the 21st Century is to make these added years of life in old age as healthy and productive as possible. Issues concerning extended working life, continuing participation in society, and the provision of health and social care, were identified as priorities.

The group canvassed a range of options for joint cooperation which require a multi-disciplinary approach and the support and facilitation of both Governments. Technology advancements, particularly in e-health, tele-medicine, electronic patient records, and assistive technology in independent living, were some of the areas discussed. The Group recommended the establishment of an Australia-Japan Panel on Ageing to explore the opportunities for joint research and development on ageing issues, in particular on ways to promote healthy ageing.

The working group made the following recommendations:

  1. We recommend the establishment of a multi-disciplinary Australia-Japan Panel on Ageing to explore opportunities for bilateral links for research and development on ageing issues in our two societies. We also suggest that population ageing be included as a cross-cutting topic in the next meeting of the Australia-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology.
  2. People in Japan and Australia enjoy the longest and the healthiest life expectancy in the world. We recommend that both governments strengthen bilateral exchanges and research activities to explore options to maintain and promote healthy and productive ageing in our two societies.
  3. We further recommend that the proposed panel explore bilateral initiatives for developing and evaluating assistive technologies, service delivery models, life-long learning programs and e-health for the aged.

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First Australia-Japan Conference, Sydney, 29-30 April 2001

Sydney declaration for Australia-Japan creative partnership - Co-Chair's Statement - Australia-Japan conference for the 21st century

The Australia-Japan relationship is one of the most successful bilateral relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. It is a partnership of strength, resilience, diversity and goodwill. From the ashes of World War II, the two countries have built a strong partnership in the region and share fundamental values. Both have security alliances with the United States, and support the contribution to peace and stability in the region by the United States' engagement in the region. Both countries have benefited from our strong and complementary economic relationship. People in Australia and Japan have successfully established a warm friendship and there is active interaction at many levels between the two countries.

This unique partnership represents the culmination of years of effort and commitment by both countries. But Australia-Japan relations cannot be taken for granted. It is time to find new ways to maintain the vigour of the relationship. In this endeavour, governments, business and the two communities should build on what we have to strengthen our relationship to the betterment of both countries and the region. Australia and Japan should be proud of their leading role in APEC's establishment.

This statement suggests some ideas for future action. In doing so, the Conference should be viewed as the start, not the end, of a process. The bilateral relationship is dynamic and both sides need to continue to explore ways to move forward into the twenty-first century.

High level political dialogues between Australia and Japan including between Prime Ministers and Ministers — including through the Australia-Japan Ministerial Committee meeting — should be encouraged.

An initiative of our Prime Ministers, the concept of this Conference is unique in bringing together participants from government, business, academia, media and other areas with an emphasis on fresh ideas. Australia and Japan should explore the idea of convening a similar conference — Australia-Japan Conference for a Creative Partnership — in Japan or Australia in the future.

Strategic and Political Relations

Located at the northern and southern points of East Asia, Australia and Japan have a shared sense of concern, responsibility and opportunity about our neighbourhood. The two countries want the United States to remain engaged in the region, and to see China's integration as a constructive regional partner. Australia and Japan should build on these common interests by strengthening their bilateral dialogue, focusing on ways jointly to enhance regional security. This dialogue should cover region-wide issues (eg the US role in the region); sub-regional issues (eg East Timor, Korean Peninsula) and transnational issues (eg international crime, food security).

Ways to achieve this enhanced dialogue include:

  • Expanded Government Dialogue
  • Annual bilateral dialogue with government (civilian or uniformed), academia and media not only to deepen mutual understanding on key issues, but also to allow the development of joint approaches on these issues
  • Expanded bilateral cooperation to improve capacity to respond to crises (eg peace-keeping training, new transnational security issues and regional management of economic assistance to South East Asia and the South-West Pacific)
  • Cooperation to reinvigorate multilateral processes in the region and globally.

Trade/Economic Relations

We are excited by emerging new complementarities and new approaches to traditional complementarities in the economic relationship. In particular, the information and communications technology and services sectors promise to take the bilateral relationship to even greater levels of integration and mutual benefit. Government and business — both large and small business — on both sides should embrace these opportunities. Conference delegates welcome the two Strengthening Economic Relations studies as pre-study for stimulating future discussion. In particular:-

  • We should encourage more bilateral dialogue and partnerships in a range of areas, including IT, telecommunications, biotechnology, capital market linkages (private equity markets and securities markets including stock exchanges) as well as aged and health care, taking advantage of existing mechanisms — such as the AJBCC and JABCC — where workable. Enhanced cooperation on science and research and development should also be promoted. New forms of cooperation in traditional sectors should also be explored, including on processed food, agriculture and energy. Regulatory framework issues should be addressed, including the possibility of a bilateral competition policy agreement.
  • We encourage the Australian and Japanese Governments to explore a comprehensive approach to strengthening cooperation across-the-board in traditional as well as new sectors. An Australia-Japan Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement (TIFA) should be considered by both countries as one way of working towards closer bilateral and regional economic integration.
  • We urge the Australian and Japanese Governments to cooperate to review its goals, needs and path forward in order to revitalise APEC for the benefit of the Asia-Pacific region and to work towards the early launch of a new WTO round.
  • Australia and Japan should play a leading role promoting greater dialogue on regional economic developments, especially economic reform, trade liberalisation in the region and regional infrastructure (including digital, energy, resources security and good governance).
  • The Australian and Japanese Governments should lead a deeper and more intensive regional dialogue and action to promote financial and currency stability and a complementary review of the broader economic situation. This should include consideration of an Asian Monetary Fund (AMF).
  • We recommend the Australian and Japanese Prime Ministers convene a meeting of regional CEOs to exchange views on specific regional economic problems.
  • Conference delegates welcomed the invitation from the ANU to further debate and progress the bilateral economic agenda.

Cultural, Social, Science and Technological Relations

Promoting mutual understanding at all levels in both countries provides the basis for a closer partnership between Australia and Japan. People-to-people links have infused bilateral relations with a spirit of friendship and warmth and enriched the lives of Australian and Japanese people. In the year it is celebrating its twenty-fifth year, we single out the outstanding contribution of the Australia-Japan Foundation in successfully promoting better awareness between Australian and Japanese people.

Both countries — government, private or both — should continue to nurture this spirit of goodwill and mutual understanding in every way possible with special emphasis on our young people. This should include:-

  • More media exchanges — print and electronic media — to increase knowledge about each other's countries and help correct distorted or outdated perceptions
  • More educational exchanges across all sectors — especially in the IT area; corporate exchanges and secondments; research exchanges; and cooperation between universities and research institutes. We should also allow freer exchange of educational credits. We recommend establishment of more Professorships of Australian and Japanese studies in each other's country.
  • Strengthen Japanese and English language study in our respective countries.
  • Seek issues of common language (science, music, sports) as a platform to deepen mutual understanding and cooperation.
  • More cultural exchanges — including through the AJF, Japan Foundation and Australia Council - to increase further understanding of each countries' history, traditions and future — including of our indigenous peoples.
  • Expand "Artists in residence" programs, to give opportunities to promising young artists.
  • Dialogue on social issues of common bilateral concern — starting with ageing population, health and quality of life issues; steps to revitalise regional and rural areas; youth issues — to exchange views and devise common approaches.
  • To promote two-way tourism, recent trends should be examined.
  • Specifically, we should pursue a proposal to establish an Asia-Pacific Life Science Highway with Australia and Japan as key hubs, to link together regional researchers in a virtual research community.
  • Fully utilise internet (including broadband) and the Australia-Japan Cable to maximise communication and mutual understanding between our peoples.

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Last Updated: 27 March 2013