Australia-Japan Foundation Strategic Plan: 2014-17

Mission Statement

To advance Australia’s engagement with Japan by supporting cultural, academic, business and community exchange and facilitating informed discussion on key bilateral foreign and trade policy issues.


The objectives of the Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) are:

  1. to increase awareness and understanding in Japan of shared interests with Australia;
  2. to increase awareness and understanding in Australia of the importance of Japan to Australia as an economic and strategic partner; and
  3. to increase recognition in Japan of Australian excellence and expertise.

(AJF Orders in Council, 30 November 2006)

Priority areas

To achieve its objectives, the AJF will deliver high quality programs and projects under the following six priority areas (in alphabetical order):

  • Communication, Information and Advocacy – The development and distribution of comprehensive, relevant and up-to-date information which projects an accurate and positive image of Australia in Japan, celebrates the enduring nature of the bilateral relationship and increases public understanding of the importance of the Australia-Japan relationship in both countries.
  • Economics and Trade – Emerging issues and trends in Australia’s trade and investment relationship with Japan.
  • Education and Science – Supporting the New Colombo plan and collaboration and exchange between leading tertiary education and science institutions in Australia and Japan in areas of mutual interest.
  • Reconstruction – assisting communities of the north eastern Tohoku region to recover from the devastation of the earthquake/tsunami of 11 March 2011.
  • Security and Regional/International Relations – Australia and Japan’s shared contribution to promoting peace and stability in the region and globally.
  • Society and Culture – Professional, community and institutional linkages between Australia and Japan which highlight Australian excellence and expertise in Japan and enhances mutual understanding, friendship and respect.


  • To assist the communities of the Tohoku region to recover from the devastating effects of the 11 March 2011 earthquake/tsunami.
  • To commemorate the significant milestone of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Australia-Japan Foundation and the signing of the Nara Treaty.
  • To increase public awareness of, and facilitate informed discussion among business leaders, policy-makers and academic opinion leaders on, the mutual importance of the Australia-Japan business and economic relationship.
  • To increase public awareness of, and facilitate informed discussion among policy-makers and academic opinion leaders on, the emerging bilateral security relationship between Australia and Japan.
  • To support education initiatives such as the New Colombo Plan, the teaching of Australian Studies in Japan and high quality research and collaboration in areas of shared interest such as social change, gender, environment, science, technology and innovation.
  • To encourage social and cultural exchange and cooperation initiatives, including artist-in-residency programs and targeted cultural, sport, local government, youth, community and not-for-profit groups which highlights Australian excellence and expertise in Japan.
  • To increase positive media coverage and commentary on the Australia-Japan relationship; to project a positive image of contemporary Australia in Japan; and to recognise individuals and organisations which have made a lasting, positive contribution to the relationship.

Operating Environment

The AJF is a non-statutory, bilateral foundation in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) which was established in 1976 with the aim of strengthening and further developing Australia-Japan relations.

The AJF provides funds, under the International Relations Grants Program administered by DFAT, to suitably qualified individuals and non-government organisations in Australia and Japan in support of projects that help build sustainable networks and increase mutual understanding and goodwill between the two countries.

New proposals are assessed by an advisory Board of business and community leaders appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Board makes recommendations to DFAT on projects to be funded in accordance with an annual Business Plan and provides advice on ways to strengthen Australia-Japan relations in support of Australia’s foreign and trade policy interests.


The Board will pursue the following strategies to achieve its goals in 2014-17:

  • Encourage proposals that celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation in 1976 of the Australia-Japan Foundation and the signing of the Nara Treaty.
  • Provide seed funding for new programs which aim to become self-sustaining within three years.
  • Facilitate partnerships between business and the not-for profit sector and encourage increased corporate philanthropy for community-based activities.
  • Seek balanced sectoral, geographic and gender representation among grant recipients and project participants.
  • Leverage off high profile events in both countries to maximise the impact of AJF support.
  • Promote similarities and avoid duplication with other institutions active in the Australia-Japan relationship.


Key achievements of the AJF’s annual grant program and other funded activities are set out in an annual program report on the AJF website and included in the DFAT Annual Report.

AJF grant recipients are required to identify key performance indicators in a funding agreement and to provide a written report of project outcomes within 30 days of a project’s completion, including a certified financial statement or other evidence of expenditure.

Performance measures may include audience attendance numbers, student enrolment numbers, feedback from participants, the quality and amount of positive media coverage about Australia in Japan, the number of publications about Australia in Japanese journals, the number and quality of new research partnerships and the number and quality of new institutional linkages.

Strategic Plan 2010-13

Last Updated: 6 January 2016