Hon Michael Kirby's UN appointment
8 May 2013
Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed the appointment of the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG as chair of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), announced in Geneva.
Australia Welcomes Japan to Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
22 April 2013
Trade Minister Craig Emerson announced that Australia had joined the 10 other existing parties in inviting Japan to join the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Australia in the Asian Century Country Strategies
22 April 2013
Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced the start of public consultations on country strategies for Japan, China, Indonesia, India and South Korea as part of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.
Distinguished Australian Scientist Honoured by Japan Academy
16 April 2013
A distinguished cancer researcher has become the first Australian – and the first woman – to be appointed an Honorary Member of the prestigious Japan Academy.
Australia-Japan Information Security Agreement Enters into Force
26 March 2013
Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed the Security of Information Agreement between Australia and Japan coming into force through an exchange of diplomatic notes in Canberra.
Kids from tsunami-devastated town to visit Victoria
22 March 2013
English classes, farm stays and Phillip Island's world-famous 'penguin parade' are on the agenda for a group of 20 schoolchildren from Minami Sanriku heading to Australia on Sunday 24 March.
The junior high school students, aged between 12 and 14, were asked to write a short essay about what they wanted to do in Australia if they had the opportunity to visit - read a selection of their entries.
The students will spend eight days in Melbourne and regional Victoria. They will attend classes at Fairhills State High School and stay with local families before experiencing Australian farm life on properties in Ballarat and Kyneton.
The kids will also take part in a day-long sightseeing tour of Melbourne and travel to Phillip Island to see the nightly 'parade' of hundreds of Little Penguins from the sea to their burrows in the nearby sand dunes – one of Australia's greatest natural attractions.
The visit to Victoria, part of Australia's ongoing assistance for tsunami-devastated Minami Sanriku, is funded by the Australia-Japan Foundation and the Tokyo Club, with the assistance of Qantas Airways, the Government of Victoria, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Tourism Victoria, the Australian Embassy Tokyo, Wine Australia and Club Australia.
Ambassador's Message - Increase in tourist numbers bodes well for Australia-Japan relationship
21 March 2013
Numbers are at the heart of so many news reports about the Australia-Japan relationship. The value of our respective imports and exports, Japanese investment in Australia. But an equally important number went largely unnoticed in the media over the past month or so - one that holds a particular interest for me.
That statistic, released by Tourism Australia, showed a healthy 6.4 per cent increase in the number of Japanese tourists travelling to Australia in 2012 (when compared to the previous year). In total, 353,900 Japanese tourists visited Australia.
Tourism is, of course, a two-way street. And Australian tourists - including a large number of skiers bound for Niseko, Hakuba or Nozawa Onsen - are visiting Japan in increasing numbers: currently more than 200,000 a year.
The people-to-people links between our two countries are the most important factor in the future of our bilateral relationship. And tourism - in both directions - is crucial. It is through the personal experiences our people have in each other's country that their perceptions are shaped. We need to maximise this.
Tourism is also important in another regard. Much has been said about the supposedly inward-looking nature of young people in Japan. It is, I believe, of critical importance that Japan maintains an outward-looking posture, and I would like the positive experiences that Japanese people have in Australia to serve as an incentive for other young Japanese to travel overseas - both to Australia and elsewhere.
For these reasons, I was very happy to see a significant increase in the number of Japanese travelling to Australia in 2012.
Of course, there is a long way to go before we reach the number of Japanese visitors we welcomed in the 1990s. This number peaked in 1997, when 813,900 Japanese visited Australia. But it's a step in the right direction.
Australia and Iitate
11 March 2013
The community of Iitate village, in Fukushima Prefecture, was forced to evacuate due to radiation concerns following the incident at Fukushima nuclear power.
Australia is committed to providing ongoing support to the community, now relocated to the town of Iino.
International Women's Day
8 March 2013
International Women's Day, 8 March, highlights women's economic, political and social achievements and raises community awareness of issues that affect women.
Australia-Japan Conference - Keynote Speech
1 March 2013
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles delivered the keynote speech at the 8th Australia-Japan Conference in Tokyo on Friday 1 March 2013.
Leading Young Australian Scientists in Discussions with Nobel Laureates
28 February 2013
Six Australian scientists working in a wide range of fields, from genetics to Antarctic studies, are in discussions this week with Japanese counterparts at the 5th HOPE Meetings with Nobel Laureates. Australian Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller said the scientists were committed to further strengthening research links between Australia and Japan.
Conference highlights strong partnership between Australia and Japan
28 February 2013
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Richard Marles will visit Tokyo on 1 March to attend the 8th Australia-Japan Conference.
Telephone conversation between Japanese and Australian foreign ministers
12 February 2013
The following is a translation of a summary issued by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida had a telephone conversation with Senator The Hon. Bob Carr, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, for approximately 15 minutes starting from 7:45 pm today. A summary of the conversation is as follows.
- At the outset, Mr Carr expressed concern about the fact that North Korea conducted a nuclear test today. He noted that Australia would like to respond to the test in close cooperation with Japan.
- In response, Mr Kishida said it was extremely regrettable that North Korea staged the test today in defiance of calls from the international community to exercise restraint. He also said the test constituted a serious challenge to the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, which was built upon the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and that it would seriously undermine peace and stability in Northeast Asia - as well as that of the wider international community. Mr Kishida added that for these reasons, Japan immediately lodged a strong protest with North Korea.
- Mr Kishida said the international community should not accept North Korea's latest nuclear test, and said the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should swiftly adopt a resolution aimed at increasing and strengthening sanctions against North Korea. Mr Kishida expressed his strong expectation that Australia, a non-permanent member of the UNSC, would play a role in this regard.
- Mr Carr responded by saying that Australia supported Japan's stance on the issue, adding that Australia had also lodged a protest with North Korea. He told Mr Kishida that Australia would work closely with Japan on how the UNSC should respond to the test.
- The two ministers agreed that Japan and Australia would continue to maintain close contact with each other and other countries concerned, including the United States, South Korea, China and Russia.
Australia Condemns North Korean Nuclear Test
12 February 2013
North Korea's official news agency claimed North Korea had conducted a successful nuclear test.
Ambassador's Message - Happy New Year
31 January 2013
On behalf of all of us at the Australian Embassy, I wish you a very happy new year.
It has been a difficult start to the year for many Australians, with bushfires and flooding affecting large parts of the country. Many Japanese people I have spoken with over the last few weeks have expressed their sympathies for those affected and for that I am very grateful.
At the Embassy, our year started busily, with the highly-successful visit to Australia by Japan's new Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida. His visit, so soon after Japan's general election and change of government - and part of Minister Kishida's first overseas visit since taking up his position - was a clear sign of the importance both countries place on our bilateral relationship.
Visiting Sydney, my home town, Minister Kishida met his Australian counterpart, Senator Bob Carr, and Minister for Trade Craig Emerson. Discussions were wide-ranging, reflecting the broad nature of the Australia-Japan relationship.
With Australia assuming its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, Ministers Kishida and Carr agreed that our two countries would work together closely on the United Nations. They agreed Australia and Japan would hold regular consultations in Canberra and Tokyo, as well as in New York.
But this, of course, is only one element of what promises to be another busy year. In 2013, we will continue to work on our ever-deepening political and security ties and, I hope, finalise the free trade agreement currently under negotiation. Australia will continue to support Tohoku's recovery, chiefly through our activities in cooperation with the communities of Minami Sanriku and Iitate. And we will continue our efforts to promote the very best of Australian culture in Japan.
In all of our efforts, we look forward to the ongoing support of our close friends and partners in Japan.
Australia Donates Mobile Library to Fukushima Community
31 January 2013
Australia's support for a community uprooted in the aftermath of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant continued today with the opening of a new mobile library service, by Australian Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller.
Australian Teachers Enhance Japanese Language Skills
22 January 2013
Fifty-two high-performing Australian teachers of Japanese today completed a specialised language training course designed to improve their Japanese skills and their understanding of Japanese culture.
Australia-Japan talks: development, regional security, whaling
14 January 2013
Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida held talks on regional security, development and whaling, in Sydney.
Australia to chair UN Security Council Sanction Committees on Al-Qaida, Taliban, Iran
8 January 2013
Australia will take a leading role in managing global sanctions against Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran as Chair of the UN Security Council Committees overseeing these issues.