- Western Australia welcomes the Australia-Japan Business Council (WA) Inc.
- AJBC-WA supports Western Australian enterprises build stronger bilateral ties with Japanese businesses by supporting trade, investment and cultural opportunities.
The launch of the Australia Japan Business Council (AJBC-WA) was warmly hosted by His Excellency Governor Beazley at Government House on the evening of Wednesday 23 March. Welcome speeches were offered by His Excellency Mr Shingo Yamagami, Ambassador for Japan to Australia who flew to Perth for the occasion, and by Hon. Roger Cook, MLA Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Tourism; Commerce; Science.
Among the distinguished guests were those who played key roles in strengthening the relationship: Richard Court AC, former Premier and Australian Ambassador to Japan; Sam Walsh AO, Mitsui & Co board member and former Chief Executive of the Rio Tinto Group; and Stephen Smith, former Australian Minister who held the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence portfolios. They were joined by a who’s who of the Japanese and Australian business world.
Japan has a long history with Western Australia, reaching back to Broome’s pearling industry in the late nineteenth century. Trading companies such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui have had offices here for well over a century. In fact the State economy would look considerably different – and poorer – without ongoing Japanese commitments in the iron ore industry in the 1960s and the LNG industry in the 1980s. The partnership with Japan has in many senses moulded the modern Western Australian economy.
After the USA and UK, Japan clearly accounts for the largest significant business presence in Perth. It is certainly the largest Asian business presence and therefore the flag bearer for the State Government’s Asian Engagement Strategy in that regard.
Japan adheres to the rule of law, contractual obligations and transparent governance, and is recognised for observance of environmental, social and governance mores. Their business models epitomise ‘partnership’ – usually minority ownership of projects, strong and diverse supply chains and JVs, community commitment, and trust. Not all of Western Australia’s major trading partners can make such claims.
Australia and Japan have found reliable partners in each other, underpinning the trade relationship. They are complementary economies, and boast a well-established smoothly-run free trade agreement, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (2015).
A rich, historic cultural relationship is also evident, with the Western Australia and Hyogo Prefecture Sister State Agreement (the State’s oldest such Agreement) celebrating its 40th year in 2021. Eleven municipalities also have a Sister City relationship with a Japanese city.
The AJBC-WA offers a platform and network from which Japanese and Western Australian businesses can enhance cultural relations, and engage with their governments on policy and program initiatives. Not only will the focus be on the established fields of mining, energy and agriculture but also on tourism, education and premium food and beverages, as well as the emerging fields of cybersecurity, automation, AI, robotics, data analytics, advanced manufacturing, med-tech and digital innovation.
You can read the Chairman of the AJBC, Richard Sandover’s speech at the launch event here.