According to Chairman and CEO of Mitsui & Co. Australia, Mr Yukio Takebe: "The New Colombo Plan gives us a way of giving back to Australia, which has hosted us so hospitably over the decades."
Nearly 50 years ago, the company established the Mitsui Education Foundation which has sent 350 Australians on study tours to Japan.
The New Colombo Plan embraced Mitsui & Co as a partner in 2015 and it has since hosted 64 NCP mobility students and scholars in Japan.
The company's commitment to the NCP is strong. Its July 2017 New Colombo Plan Immersion Program for 12 students from the Queensland University of Technology and Deakin University was marked by pre-departure events in two capitals.
The Melbourne function marked a milestone for celebrating the first group to depart from Victoria, where the company has its headquarters. Moreover, Japan's Consul-General, Mr Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, spoke warmly of the contribution to Australia-Japan relations more broadly.
The students enjoyed two weeks of site visits at Mitsui operations and other Japanese companies, cultural experiences and interactions with Japanese peers, before being rejoined by Mr Takebe at their final presentations.
In their own, heartfelt words, the students praised the program:
'The Mitsui Immersion Program was delivered at an exceptionally high standard. From the first to the last day, it did not fail to deliver insightful and engaging content. The experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.'
'This is an excellent program. I have learnt many valuable things about Mitsui & Co., its relationship with Australia and Japan's business culture. This experience is very relevant in today's world and is certainly an asset to a 21st century career.'
'A big thank you to Mitsui for your generosity in hosting us in Tokyo. It was an unforgettable experience that has been incredibly insightful and something I will benefit from immensely.'
'I feel fortunate and grateful to have gained an insight into one of the world's largest general trading companies whilst embracing Japan's diverse culture. Throughout the program I witnessed firsthand Mitsui's core values in particular how important Mitsui's people are to the company. Everyone I met at Mitsui was friendly, kind and humble, going above and beyond to make use feel welcome.'
Mitsui & Co is now offering two places to New Colombo Plan scholars to join its Immersion Programs in June to July each year. Scholars are urged to check these opportunities on the New Colombo Plan Internships and Mentorships Network online portal.
Ms Wendy Holdenson, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mitsui & Co Australia Ltd is also a New Colombo Plan Business Champion.