Port call highlights strengthening Qld-Japan ties

Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force helicopter destroyer, JS Ise (source: Courier Mail)

The arrival in Brisbane of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force helicopter destroyer, JS Ise as part of recent Talisman Salibre exercises with Australian, U.S. and other forces highlighted the strengthening ties between Australia and Japan in security, along with business and other fields.

The Courier Mail's Glen Norris in his July 26 column for the newspaper's QBM magazine described the visit as highlighting a new level of maturity in our relationship with Japan.

The business reporter quoted QJCCI President Chris Whitecross as noting the strengthening Australia-Japan relationship, with growing Japanese outbound investment and record numbers of Australians travelling to Japan. 

"Tokyo has long had an interest in Queensland stemming from the 1960s when the state’s coal reserves were needed to fuel Japan’s expanding factories. That was replaced by the heady days of the 1980s when the Japanese made big investments in golf course and resorts.

There is now a broader interest in infrastructure, construction, manufacturing and renewable energy. Queensland’s ties with Japan are now expanding into areas such as the emerging hydrogen industry.

Queensland Minister for State Development and Manufacturing Cameron Dick recently travelled to Japan to meet key players in the country’s hydrogen industry and to launch the state’s hydrogen strategy.

In March, Queensland celebrated its first-ever delivery of green hydrogen to Japan, exported by JXTG Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation with hydrogen produced at QUT’s solar cell facility at the Queensland Government Redlands Research Facility.

Whitecross points to Nippon Paint’s $4.2 billion takeover of Dulux and TAL Dai-ichi Life’s $640 million acquisition of Suncorp’s life insurance business this year as examples of heightened Japanese investment interest in Australia and Queensland.

Whitecross, who notes Japan remains our second-largest trading partner and “democratic ally in Asia,” says there has been a 70 per cent increase in membership of the chamber since last September.

Sport remains an important area of common ground between the two countries, with Australians expected to flock to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in September and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In July, the QJCCI held a Rugby World Cup event featuring former Wallabies Ian Williams and Mark Connors."

The QJCCI wishes to thank Glen together with the Consulate-General of Japan, Brisbane, Trade and Investment Queensland and QJCCI Management Committee member, Anthony Fensom for their assistance in providing research information for the article.