Ambassador's first message

2021/1/15
Ambassador Yamagami
My name is YAMAGAMI Shingo. I assumed the post of Ambassador of Japan to Australia in December of last year. Prior to coming to Canberra, I worked in Tokyo and Mito, Ibaragi Prefecture as well as overseas in the United States (New York, Washington), Hong Kong, Geneva, and London. Although I have visited Australia many times on business, the opportunity to take up a posting here is a long-held dream come true.

As you know, Japan and Australia share a Special Strategic Partnership based on our commitment to common values and strategic interests. We continue to build a strong relationship across many areas including economics, security and people-to-people exchange. This relationship is the result of efforts on the part of many stakeholders. I too am looking forward to working hard towards taking this important relationship to even greater heights.

The beginning of 2020 saw Australia engulfed by bushfires. Soon after, both Japan and Australia came up against the global COVID-19 crisis. Even amidst these challenges, our two countries have continued to co-operate at all levels across many sectors including response to natural disasters and global pandemics.

At the Prime-Ministerial level, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was the first world leader to call and congratulate Prime Minister Suga soon after the inauguration of the Suga Administration in September. Later in November, Prime Minister Morrison became the first world leader to pay an official visit to Prime Minister Suga in Japan. These actions speak volume of exactly how closer the Japan-Australia relationship has grown.

In 2020, Japan and Australia deepened cooperation across many areas including trade and investment, defens, and technology. It is worth mentioning that Collaboration in the field of space also deepened. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Australian Space Agency signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in July, providing platform for collaboration across space technology, exploration and education. In December 2020, with the assistance of the Australian Government, JAXA’s asteroid explorer ‘Hayabusa2’ successfully returned to Woomera in South Australia where a sample capsule was safely retrieved.

The COVID-19 crisis saw a temporary reduction in direct flights between Australia and Japan with just 3 flights per week between Sydney and Tokyo. Since November however, flights have increased to 8 per week. In addition, whilst taking sufficient precautions for health conditions and safety of people, I look forward to the resumption of travel and person-to-person exchange in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled for July and August respectively.

I hope to visit all the states and territories at the earliest opportunity, further enhance exchanges and raise Japan’s profile.

It may be a little known fact in Japan that there are over 100,000 Japanese nationals living in Australia, active in a diverse range of fields. This makes Australia the country with the third highest number of Japanese residents, after the United States (440,000 people) and China (110,000 people) with this number on the gradual increase. The Embassy of Japan will further co-operate with Australian side to help create a comfortable environment for those Japanese nationals living and working in Australia.

I look forward to working with you all to continue strengthening and expanding Japan-Australia ties across various sectors.