The tone for our business year has been set positively by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull's recent visit. Importantly he reinforced the strength of Australia-Japan relations including the 55-year long commercial partnership. The Prime Minister’s address at the Japan Australia Business Council Committee luncheon emphasised the need for Australia and Japan to enhance cooperation as regional powers with global interests. This included, in particular, the need to work together to pursue the free-flow of international trade. A message well understood by our members, both Australian and New Zealand, and underpinned by the action focused initiatives of the Chamber.
In line with the promotion of bilateral trade, one of ANZCCJ’s Platinum sponsors, Ashurst held their annual M&A in Review event on 17 January. Mergers and acquisitions directly influence the landscape and operations of businesses so for our members to hear about how the business context has shifted continues to be immensely valuable.
And to celebrate the start of the New Year, we had our annual Shinnenkai at the Conrad Tokyo’s Twenty Eight Bar. We had the pleasure of hearing from the New Zealand Ambassador to Japan, HE Stephen Payton and Minister, Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy Tokyo, Clare Walsh, as well as the Vice Chairman of the Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee, Yorihiko Kojima. Having business and government leaders connecting and building relationships helps to water the seeds of new ideas and initiatives that drive our businesses forward. Thanks to all who attended.
The Chamber’s goal for this year is to build on what we’ve achieved so far but also venture into new opportunities, try some new things and work hard with our stakeholders. I’m asking each of you as members and sponsors to think about how the Chamber can work better and smarter together. We want your feedback and over the month of February we’ll be seeking your input ahead of the Executive Council’s next strategy planning meeting set for early March. The Chamber is also keen to ensure that we effectively utilise the government led 2018 Australia Now campaign. This eight-month program running from April to November, will showcase the best of Australian innovation, lifestyle and creativity to Japan, enhancing Australia and Japan’s relationship through further collaboration and exchange.
I would like to welcome our new Executive Director Judith Hanna to the Chamber. Judith will be a valuable addition to the team and is really excited to be joining us at this time. And finally, please keep an eye out for our upcoming events on our website. We have a busy and exciting year ahead! I wish you all a safe and happy start to 2018.