Policy Briefing: Japanese insights into the trajectory of the Australia-Japan relationship

Australians set to play a major role in the growth of Japanese tourism and skilled migration.

SYDNEY, 24 November 2016, H.E Mr Sumio Kusaka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Australia, addressed Asia Society Australia’s guests at an exclusive event hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills, as part of our ‘Policy Briefing’ series.

During his briefing, Mr Kusaka comprehensively addressed the benefits of the ‘Abenomics’ policy, specifically outlining the areas of tourism and skilled migration as of particular interest to Australia. Japan aims to boost its yearly intake of visitors to 40 million by 2020, and with both the Rugby World Cup and Olympic Games in Tokyo set for 2019 and 2020 respectively, Australian tourists will be a major contributor to achieving this goal. Australians will also contribute to the success of Abenomics through skilled migration, with recent measures to expedite the permanent residency process for highly skilled professionals better situating Australians to take advantage of employment opportunities in Japan.

On the economic relationship, Mr Kusaka reflected on the positive impacts the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) has had on bilateral business ties, which he foresees are likely to continue. The Ambassador also proposed that these positives would also be reflected regionally should an agreement similar to the Trans Pacific Partnership be realised.

While discussing the conduct of North Korea and the situations in the South and East China Seas, Mr Kusaka emphasised the need to utilise multilateral forums like the East Asian Summit and ASEAN+ to preserve the rule of law and resolve disputes peacefully.

In what is becoming an increasingly unpredictable period, which will likely be added to following the structural change facing the United States under a new administration, Mr Kusaka emphasised that nothing should be taken for granted. As a result, the continuation of mutual assistance between Australia and Japan in the regional is fundamental to ensure peace and stability in the Pacific. 

This event was hosted by Sue Gilchrist, Regional Managing Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. The event was generously sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills and held in Sydney.