Ambassador Suzuki's New Year message

Ambassador's photo
I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year. It has been eight months now since I assumed my role as Ambassador of Japan to Australia. As I mark my first New Years here, I would like to once again express my views on developments in the Japan-Australia relationship.
In May last year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hosted the QUAD Summit, meeting the leaders of Japan, the United States and India while in Japan for the G7 Summit. Despite the sudden change of plans, this meeting – made possible through close cooperation between Japan and Australia – yielded significant outcomes.
On the security front, the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement has come into effect, and was first put into practice with the visit in August of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s F-35A aircraft to Australia. I was in Darwin on this occasion and visited RAAF Base Tindal to warmly welcome the aircraft and crew, experiencing for myself the steady progress of our Japan-Australia relationship. These developments in defence and security are also vital to realise a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.
In October, the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee held their highly successful conference, welcoming nearly 730 representatives from Japanese and Australian business communities. I plan to put to good use the various ideas that were shared with me from business representatives, with an eye to further developing our economic relationship in a variety of fields.
In addition, I have had the pleasure of visiting New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory for official visits, and have also travelled to Adelaide and Perth. I have seen with my own eyes the size of Australia, as well as the gigantic potential for the future of our relationship. I would like to further advance our cooperation on new frontiers such as hydrogen, ammonia, critical minerals, infrastructure and space technology, as well as in the area of traditional resources. Furthermore, in this post-COVID era, I would like to increase the number of visitors between our countries, further developing people-to-people relations and cultural exchange.
I believe that the foundation of the Japan-Australia relationship is the mutual understanding, respect and friendship that exists between our countries. I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet with some of the many Japanese people in Australia working in different fields during my travels across the country. I am keeping in mind that each and every one of the approximately 95,000 Japanese people living in Australia forms a cornerstone of our relationship, and will continue to support them in any way I could.
Today, as the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East shake the foundations of the international order, Japan and Australia continue to closely cooperate on the issues that face both our countries. To further strengthen our Japan-Australia relationship, I will take on board all of your suggestions and advice, and work hard alongside my Embassy colleagues. I look forward to your support in 2024.