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Meet Our Ambassadors event: Speech by Australian Ambassador HE Richard Court AC

15 Jun 2017 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

ANZCCJ Meet Our Ambassadors

Event wrap up by Eve Bentley

The Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) was pleased to welcome both our Patrons, Australian Ambassador to Japan, HE Richard Court AC; and New Zealand Ambassador to Japan, HE Stephen Payton, at an evening networking event at the Roppongi Hills Club on 14 June 2017. This was a unique opportunity for ANZCCJ members to meet the ambassadors, hear about their individual connections with Japan, as well as their country’s relationship with Japan, economically, culturally and politically.

ANZCCJ Chair Andrew Gauci welcomed the Ambassadors, remarking that both of them are “fantastic supporters of the business community,” a sentiment that was shared by the Ambassadors regarding the importance of ANZCCJ members in forging business-to-business ties in Japan.

The evening featured speeches from both Ambassadors, the transcripts of which you can read below, followed by a Q&A session. Questions asked included the impact of large sporting events in New Zealand (World Masters Games 2017) and how this could be replicated in Japan in 2021, how to promote diversity in sport and showcase Australia and New Zealand in regional areas, and finally the Ambassadors' thoughts on the TPP and climate change agenda in the absence of US Support.

ANZCCJ would like to thank the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Australia Business Cooperation Committee, and the Japan New Zealand Business Council for co-hosting this event with us.

14 June 2017

Speech, Check against delivery

Tokyo, Japan

Speech by HE Richard Court AC, Australian Ambassador to Japan

Minasan Konbanwa.

To Chairman Andrew, and to Ambassador Stephen, and our dear friend Kojima-san.

I would like to thank the members of the ANZCCJ for making myself and Mrs Court so welcome in Tokyo, three months ago.

My personal career path has enabled me to work on both sides of the fence, 20 years in political life, and the remainder in the private sector.

It has taught me to respect the role of government, and involving both politicians and the bureaucracy, and it has taught me to respect the role that the private sector plays, in particular the importance of capital and risk.

For the last four years, for the last four decades, China, Korea, and Japan have played a major role in my working life. It is however, Australia’s incredibly strong bilateral relationship with Japan that I have enjoyed working with the most. It is a relationship that is the envy of many countries.

Since the second world war, Australia has grown in three big ways, with a lot of chop in between.

The first wave came with Japan rebuilding after the war, and it needed resources, it needed minerals and energy. And just twelve years after the war, in 1957, a commerce agreement between our two countries was signed.

Trust and Confidence grew, and the foundations that were laid in the early 1960s, are still delivering significant benefits to both countries today.

The second wave was the Korean making its own economic success. And the third wave, a big wave, was the incredible economic success we have seen in China.

The downside of the China story was that is has been very large and quick, building unrealistic expectations within both the government and the public in Australia.

So, primary production, agriculture, minerals and energy remains the backbone strength of the Australian economy. But unfortunately, the old economic adage is correct, that is primary producers are Prize takers not prize setters, so when commodity prices are down, Australia hurts.

Today’s challenge for Australia is to diversify our economy, and it is happening although it is not always fully appreciated. But we are seeing big changes in tourism, information technology, in the financial and insurance services areas, infrastructure, health services and many other areas.

The positive legacy of our strong bilateral relationship is that the trust in investment has flowed through to trust at the political level, people level and the strategic defence level.

There is always a risk however that the consistent positive trajectory in the Australia-Japan relationship may lead to complacency in how we look at each other, and we cannot take this strong relationship for granted.

An Australian Prime Minister Menzies observed, “More good things in life are lost by indifference than ever were lost by active hostility.”

The onus is on all of us not just to adapt as circumstances change, but actively seek out new opportunities. And for our part the Australian government is thinking ahead about how we present modern innovative Australia to Japan.

Next year, we will organise a major celebration of Australia in Japan called Australia Now, and we are looking forward to partnering with you to implement an ambitious program of events throughout 2018.

We are also working with many of you to future proof the relationship through initiatives such as the AJBCC future leaders program, led by Co-Chairs Mr Gerard Adams and Ms. Chisato Kaieda and the ANZCCJ and its members enthusiastic hosting of the New Colombo Plan interns.

It is the ANZCCJ members, in this room tonight, who play a critical role forging the real business to business links which drive this relationship forward.

And we look forward to strengthening the respective roles of the government and the private sector in this critical bilateral relationship.

Arigatou Gozaimasu.

- Ends -

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