Table Speech

”Australia and Japan Future Direction in Indispensable Partnership”

November 9th, 2005

Australian Ambassador to Japan
H.E.Mr.Murray McLean OAM

 Japan and Australia have been building a broad relationship that supports economic development in both countries. Neither of our countries would have been able to achieve the success and affluence that we have today without the mutual existence. With the passage of time the Japan-Australia relationship deepened, and with the branching-out into new fields, this sentiment has been growing even deeper.

Japan-Australia Economic Relationship, the Foundation
Australia supplies coal and iron ore to Japan. It is also a major supplier of LNG, agricultural produce, and food items. Japan provides significant investments and leading-edge products to Australia. The historical trading pattern was for Australia to export raw materials to Japan, and Japan shipping back finished products to Australia. This, through exploiting the competitive advantages enjoyed by the two countries, was greatly beneficial for both.

Security and Political Relationship
Australia and Japan share many important strategic interests and other interests, including the security of East Asia. Australia and Japan both strongly support the US involvement in the region through alliances. Both countries also are in a cooperative relationship in the following areas.
・ Mutual cooperation toward an effective United Nations reform
・ Further development of the consultation mechanisms in ASEAN and APEC
・ Cooperation in the war against terrorism and prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction
・ Measures to prevent human trafficking in the region
・ Cooperation as members in the “Asian Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate”
・ Cooperation for the prevention of the spread of avian influenza to humans

Regional Relationships Supporting Japan-Australia Relationship
The “Working Holiday Program” has enabled some 100,000 Japanese to visit and gain work experience in Australia, while some 7,000 Australians have utilized the program to work in Japan. The JET Program also provides support for the bilateral exchanges. Learning of Japanese has become the most popular foreign language subject in our schools

Further Opportunities for the Future
Relations between Japan and Australia have grown to a strong and mature one. Still significant opportunities lie ahead for Japan and Australia.

Grasping the Economic Fruits
Australia feels that the time has come to a stage to examine a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA). Often, agriculture has been identified as the obstacle in negotiating an FTA. Although Australia is a large agricultural producer, but in reality our country does not have so much power that the Japanese market would be overwhelmed by Australian agricultural produce exports. It is appreciated that Japan has some sensitive areas, but Australia has shown through FTAs with other countries that it is flexible, and agriculture is an issue that can be overcome.

Cooperation for Peace and Stability
In the area of security, the continuing cooperation between Australia and Japan on measures to fight terrorism is important. Agreement to implement dialog regarding safety at a cabinet level among Japan, Australia, and the United States was an important first step. Australia as a participant in the East Asian Summit for the first time has been given a unique opportunity to make a contribution to security.

2006, the Japan-Australia Exchange Year
Next year is the “2006, the Japan-Australia Exchange Year”, and a wide
variety of activities, including the arts, culture, politics, business, education, science and technology, tourism, society, and lifestyles, are planned.

Japan and Australia continue to make endeavors for cooperation toward regional stability, prosperity, enhanced security, and integration of the economies of the two countries. In looking at the relations, I can only see the positives.