Report recommends elevation of Australia-Japan relationship to meet future energy needs

By Jackson Graham

November 23, 2021

(SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe)

Australia and Japan need to work together to solve climate change and meet future energy needs, says a new report calling for the advanced relationship to become even stronger. 

The report, commissioned by the Australia-Japan Foundation, highlights that Australia supplies two-thirds of Japan’s key industrial materials and close to one-third of its entire energy needs.

As cleaner energy usage ramps up, the report, called reimagining the Japan relationship, lays out a vision for an expanded exchange of different goods and services.

Among its key recommendations is also that Australia’s federal and state public services reward qualification in Japan-literacy and experience. 

ANU Australia-Japan Research Centre director Shiro Armstrong said the Australian-Japanese relationship had never been stronger but would need to adjust as economic, environmental and social change accelerated. 

“The Japan relationship must be reimagined if it is to cope with major challenges that both countries face at home and abroad if it is to survive and thrive in the 21st century,” Armstrong, an associate professor, said. 

The report also recommends a joint Australia-Japan Energy Initiative to bring together government, industry, experts and stakeholder groups to speed up and enable the energy transition.

It says Australia should elevate its relationship with Japan to “most favoured partner”, equal with other relationships, and grant similar working visas to what it does with UK citizens. Investing in education through exchanges and study programs are also among key suggestions.

The foundation’s chair, Bruce Miller, a former ambassador to Japan, said the report highlighted new institutional frameworks that could “thicken” the nations’ relationship. 

“Now is the time to invest in the capacity to better understand and engage Japan as it becomes more important for Australia,” Miller said.

The report was released as Australia announced on Monday it would welcome back fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and South Korea from December 1. 

“Under these arrangements, citizens of Japan and Korea who hold a valid Australian visa will be able to travel from their home country quarantine-free to participate in that programme where states and territories are providing that opportunity, without needing to seek a travel exemption,” prime minister Scott Morrison said. 


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