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Australia-Japan Society of NSW

Reports from recent AJS-NSW Events

Events 2017

Consul General Keizo Takewaka talks with the AJS on “Japan and Australia in the Trump Era"

Reporter: Philip Porter

February 28 2017

The Consul General’s talk was keenly awaited with over 70 attendees, some from as far away as the Gold Coast.

The Consul General describes himself as “a leg man” meaning he likes to get about and meet people face to face at the grass roots level. He has been as good as his word.  In just the few months he’s been here he has travelled from Darwin (part of his responsibility) to Dubbo and criss-crossed the state and Sydney in his quest to know his territory.

Mr. Takewaka also has a laconic sense of humour, opening his address with “My presentation is not as provocative as the title suggests.” It was however, very informative, frank and thoughtful - who could ask for more?

He began by making the point that grass roots organisations like the AJS and numerous sporting, cultural and education bodies, “are the cornerstone of the very special relationship that exists between Japan and Australia.”

Mr Takewaka used the events of Prime Minster Abe’s visit to Sydney (13-15 January) to sum up Japanese priorities in the region and beyond. In doing this he emphasised the “Three Pillars” that create the scaffolding for Japan’s relationship with Australia.

The three pillars of this relationship are:

 1. Security and Defence
  •  The Acquisition and Cross Security Agreement (ACSA) was signed during the visit.
 2. Energy, Culture and Personal Exchange
  • The centrepiece being the ongoing commitment to progressing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement
  • Other important collaborative moves were MOUs on innovation, sport, agriculture and tourism.
  • Also significant Regional Exchangs
 3.    The Regional Situation
The security alliance with the USA was the cornerstone of this pillar which is based on:
  • Maritime rules: based on international order
  • Free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy: In this context Australia is ideally placed sitting as it does between Africa and Asia.
  • South China Sea:  freedom of navigation, self-restraint, resolution of disputes peacefully and the avoidance of escalation.
  • North Korea: Strong condemnation of their aggressive behaviour in the region.
Mr Takewaka’a speech was deliberately short in order to leave plenty of time for questions to which he gave frank and full responses. The questions ranged from sporting ties, agricultural agreements and dealing with a Trump led America.

Agriculture: Firstly, an MOC on Agriculture was signed during PM Abe’s visit. This is to act as an initiator for a plethora of agricultural trade and interaction with a team of Japanese experts coming to Australia to map out possibilities including the purchase of agricultural equipment

He pointed out that the FTA will certainly open up the Japanese agricultural sector a great deal. Darwin is of particular interest to Japanese agricultural interest due to its location and potential as a food bowl.

Japanese corporate interest in Australia: is based on its desire to diversify and pursue infra structure projects. Australia’s attraction to Japan is its predictability, transparency and stability.

Consul-General Takewaka

Japan’s response to a Trump America: Mr Takewaka agreed that there is a heightened sense of unpredictability but pointed out that this is always the case with international relations. Also, the transactional emphasis of Trump’s utterances doesn’t concern Japan particularly as all international arrangements involve a bundling of self-interest, trade negotiations, strategic/military positioning and raw politics. He noted that Clinton in the 80’s wanted Japan to limit its production and export of certain products as part of a broader deal, which Japan resisted.

MOU on Sport: was also signed with Australia. Mr. Takewaka said that sport is a vital form of soft diplomacy. It’s universally enjoyed, involves grass roots connection and no language is required to participate.

The AJS looks forward to more talks from the Consul General during his posting in Sydney.

C-G Takewaka with AJS members and Directors (photo Y. Shoji)

Previous Event Reports :

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami - Reflections on Volunteering
- March 2016

How Japan Can Save the World - August 2015

Japan through the Lens of a Global Investor - July 2015

From Exchange Student to Executive VP - June 2015

2015 University Awards - May 2015

Rugby World Cup 2019 - Nov. 2014

Food Safety and Security - JAEPA July 2014

Tohoku - 3 Years On - March 2014

Nikkei Australians- November 2013

August 2013 - Japanese Investment

Mark Willacy and others Jan - July 2013

2012 Events     

About the Society

The Australia-Japan Society of NSW Incorporated (AJS-NSW) aims to bring together Australian and Japanese people living in NSW to explore mutual interests.

AJS-NSW holds regular business, social and cultural functions, at various locations around Sydney.

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PO Box R937, Royal Exchange NSW 1225

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