Japan-Australia exchange through rugby: Ambassador Kusaka holds reception to send-off the University-Norths Owls on their 2017 Japan tour

On Tuesday 7th of March, Ambassador Kusaka hosted a reception at his official residence to send off the University Norths Owls who are travelling to Japan for their 2017 Japan tour. Team members of the Owls as well as members of the Australia rugby community and Australian government were invited to the reception to contribute to the acceleration of rugby exchange between Japan and Australia as well as increase awareness of Japan as a rugby exchange partner for Australia. In attendance were approximately 80 people, consisting of team members of the Owls as well as coaching staff, management, and sponsors, ACT Brumbies Chairman, Bob Brown and Head Coach, Stephen Larkham (the Owls are affiliated with the Brumbies), and representatives of the Office for Sport, ACT Legislative Assembly and Canberra-based Japan-Australia exchange associations. The Owls departed for Japan on Thursday 9th of March.
 
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Kusaka expressed his gratitude to the Owls for choosing Japan as the destination for their overseas tour as the Memorandum of Understanding on Sports was signed by Japan and Australia during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Sydney in January this year. While sports exchange between our two countries has been occurring for some time, particularly in rugby between Japan and Canberra, the Ambassador expressed his desire to continue supporting the strengthening of rugby exchange between Japan and Australia. Furthermore, the Ambassador stated that exchange in the area of sports will only become more important as we approach the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Ambassador wished the Owls the very best in their rugby matches and hoped they enjoy Japan. He also encouraged the Owls to utilise their experience in Japan in future development. (Ambassador’s speech text)    
  

Ambassador Kusaka delivering his speech

Head Coach Daniel Hooper delivering his speech
 

Uni Norths Captain presenting the uniform
to Ambassador Kusaka

Ambassador Kusaka with Uni Norths players


 

Uni Norths Head Coach Daniel Hooper, Ambassador Kusaka and Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham

 

Uni Norths players singing their team song