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 in their speeches 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, as well as a brief 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 ambassador’s thoughts on the TPP and climate change agenda in the absence of US Support.
The 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
Speech by HE Stephen Payton, New Zealand Ambassador to Japan
Ladies and Gentlemen good evening, I am delighted and a little bit embarrassed to be in the spotlight this evening.
I would like to thank the Chamber for hosting this event, and particularly Chairman Shindo and Vice-Chairman Kojima for attending tonight despite your busy schedules.
I would like to say at the outset, how much I have appreciated the work of the ANZCCJ and the support it gives to New Zealand’s work in Japan. A very successful lunch hosted by the Chamber for the New Zealand Prime Minister is just the latest example. We value our relationship very much.
I would also like to record my appreciation for the good cooperation we enjoy with our good colleagues at the Australian Embassy, not least Ambassador and Mrs Court.
As requested, let me talk briefly about myself. I first came to Japan with my wife Janet Lowe in 1984, and we learnt Japanese in Yokohama and worked as second secretaries at the Embassy.
We came back to Japan in 1994, I was consular-general in Osaka, Janet worked for the WHO in Kobe, we lived in Kobe with our two young daughters. We were there for the earthquake.
We have also lived and worked in Fiji, and in Brussels. Janet was the Deputy Head of Mission in Tokyo when I was director of the NZ commerce and industry office in Taipei. I have also worked as New Zealand’s APEC senior official, including when Japan hosted APEC in 2010.
Three years ago, when Janet was appointed New Zealand Ambassador to the Netherlands, I joined her there and spent two years doing short term assignments including as acting Ambassador in Brussels, Rome and Warsaw. Janet will finally join me here in Tokyo in August (hopefully).
I am delighted to be back in Japan, and to be here through the Rugby World Cup, Olympics and Paralympics. This is a fascinating country, a very important partner for New Zealand in a very important and difficult region, and this is a very interesting time to be working anywhere.
That’s enough about me, what about New Zealand and its relationship with Japan?
This is our longest standing relationship in Asia, and among our most important relationships anywhere in the world. Our close diplomatic relationship over many years is based on shared values and a strong desire to see stability and prosperity in this region, our own region and globally, and we have a growing defence relationship.
We have strong trade, investment and commercial ties that go back over many years. These have been focused in such areas as Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Aluminum, Tourism and Education. In recent years there has been growing cooperation in new areas such as Energy and various technologies.
New Zealand does not have preferential access to the Japanese market through a bilateral free trade agreement, therefore TPP has been particularly important for us in this market. The United States’ withdrawal from TPP agreement was very disappointing, Japan’s willingness in the realisation of TPP 11 is very encouraging. At the same time, we are seeking to work with Japan in the area of agriculture in new ways, particularly in Hokkaido.
As with Australia, our political and economic relationship with Japan has been supplemented over many years by growing people-to-people links, sister cities, friendship societies, cultural exchanges, sports exchanges, educational exchanges, etc.
Nevertheless, we believe the average Japanese person does not know much about New Zealand beyond the few stereotypical images. This remains a challenge.
As two countries who experience earthquakes and other natural disasters we cooperate in disaster response and preparedness, in recent year there has been more contact between the Maori and Ainu indigenous peoples. We are still finding new things to do together.
Looking forward, I believe we will continue to build on the strong relationship I have described, we want to work closely with Japan to address the political and security challenges in this region and beyond.
We want to deepen and broaden our economic relationship on the basis of a successful TPP agreement and we hope to use the RWC in 2019, the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, and the World Masters Games 2021 to introduce New Zealand and the opportunities of New Zealand to a wider range of Japanese.
Thank you very much.
- Ends -