How significant are Victoria, Southern Australia and Tasmania in terms of the relationship between Australia and Japan?
Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania all have significant and growing ties with Japan. Melbourne, Victoria is an important city in terms of politics, economy, art, sports and culture. Leading Japanese multinationals like Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corp., Toyota and NEC Corporation have all chosen to set up their Australian headquarters in Melbourne.
Many Japanese food manufacturers like Kagome, Ito-en and Yakult have all chosen to invest in production facilities in Victoria to supply the rest of Australia and the region.
In South Australia, we see huge potential for further cooperation with Japan in defence, space, medical and renewable energy. Tasmania has become an indispensable producer of meat, livestock and seafood, exporting highly-regarded Tasmanian Beef and Tasmanian Salmon to Japan.
What new opportunities do you see?
Currently, hydrogen is attracting worldwide attention as we work towards a carbon-free society. The world-first Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project aims to safely produce and transport liquid hydrogen from Australia’s Latrobe Valley, Victoria to Kobe, Japan. The first shipment of liquid hydrogen from the Port of Hastings is scheduled for this year and is an historic milestone. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Iwatani and Marubeni are some of the key Japanese companies driving this project.
What events and initiatives are you looking forward to this year?
We hope the regular exchange of people will take place again this year and we see more Japanese coming to Australia and more Australians visiting Japan. We are launching the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Adelaide. This will be the 6th Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Australia and will cover mainly South Australia .
Japan-Australia research and study cooperation in Antarctica is underway in Hobart, Tasmania – the ‘Gateway to the Antarctic’. The research will also make use of Australia’s newest icebreaker, the Nuyina, which recently launched. In Melbourne, there are many events that attract global attention including the Australian Open, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup.
What message do you have for our readers?
I hope that Japanese people are able to visit Australia soon to enjoy what each state has to offer. There is almost no time difference between Japan and Australia so we are looking forward to seeing more Japanese people come to Australia.