International Dialogue

Summary of Dialogues

The First Japan-Australia Dialogue Convened
"Japan and Australia: Perspectives on Cooperation in Asia and Pacific"

The Global Forum of Japan (GFJ) and the Australian Consortium, with support from the Australia-Japan Foundation, the Daiwa Bank Foundation for Asia and Oceania and the Australian Embassy, co-organized the first "Japan-Australia Dialogue" on the theme of "Japan and Australia: Perspectives on Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific" at the International House of Japan in Tokyo on September 19-20, 2002.

For the purpose of co-organizing this Dialogue, the Australian Consortium was formed by the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, the Asialink Centre at the University of Melbourne, and the National Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.

After the welcome dinner hosted by Chairman Okawara Yoshio of GFJ on the evening of the 19th, there was a full day of lively discussions in the morning, luncheon and afternoon sessions on the 20th among the 97 participants from Japan and Australia.

Chairman Okawara Yoshio addressing the welcome dinner

Centering on Political-Security Issues
Session I, on the morning of the 20th, was chaired by Prof. Ito Kenichi, Governor and Executive Director of GFJ, with the Dialogue centering on political and security issues.

The Dialogue began with the remarks by Australian Ambassador John McCarthy. He said "Japan and Australia share common interests to incorporate China into a peaceful international community, and along with APEC the concept of the ‘East Asian Community’ proposed by Prime Minister Koizumi is expected to play an important role." Then, a keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Alan Dupont, Director of the Asia Pacific Security Program of Strategic and Defense Studies Centre at the Australian National University, with the theme "Japan-Australia Dialogue: the Political and Security Dimension." Dr. Dupont stated "Japan and Australia are now faced with dozens of challenges, both international, political and economic, in which both countries share common interests such as those in the rise of China. Thus, in the near future, Japan-Australian relations need to be shifted from the ongoing cooperative relationship centered around the issues of the economy and trade to a more comprehensive partnership centered around the issues of politics and security, including such transnational challenges as resource depletion, AIDS and global warming."

In response to the keynote speech, commentators put forward their following opinions for and against the keynote speech. "For Japan, China is not a threat but an opportunity," said Cong. Asao Keiichiro, Member of the House of Councilors. "In the Asia-Pacific region, China has a possibility to become a hub country along with the U.S., and it is crucially important for other spokes such as Japan, Australia, and other Asian countries to work together for incorporating China instead of isolating it into the region," stated Christopher Findlay, Professor at the Australian National University. "What is the most serious problem between Japan and Australia is the fact that there is no problem at all," commented Ina Hisayoshi, Columnist of the Nikkei Newspaper).

Amb. McCarthy expressing his opinion at the Dialogue

Participants exchanging the views lively in the morning session

Centering on Socio-Economic Issues
In the Session II in the afternoon, Dr. Stephanie Fahey, Director, Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at The University of Sydney, assumed the role of the chairperson with discussions focusing on economy and society.

In the keynote speech, Prof. Fukushima Teruhiko, of Obirin University, stated that, "In the process of promoting regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific area, Australia is an essential partner for Japan. Further development of the Japan-Australian relationship requires us to clean up any negative images of Japan in the mind of the Australian people, and also to promote dialogues and personnel exchanges based on the accomplished bilateral relations up to now".

In response to the keynote speech, the following comments were offered from the commentators. "Australia needs Japan more than Japan needs Australia" (Michael Johnson, Federal Member of the House of Representatives); "Economic relations between Japan and Australia are shifting from the first dimension (transactions of primary products) to the second dimension (investment exchanges in the manufacturing industry). The issue for the future is to establish the third dimension (intensification of the relationship between the information communication industry and the service industry)" (Tojo Kiyoshi, GM, Oceania Department, Oceania, Middle East & South Africa Division, Toyota Motor Corporation); and, "As a challenge in the middle and long term, it is imperative to promote dialogues with regards to immigration and multiculturalism" (Maxine McKew, journalist, ABC TV and The Bulletin).

On the evening of the 20th, a farewell dinner was held by Amb. McCarthy at his residence. The dinner carried on until late in the evening in an amicable atmosphere with friendships being strengthened