40th Anniversaries of the Signing of the Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Japan and Australia and the establishment of Australia-Japan Foundation

On Friday 14 October, the Embassy of Japan together with the Australia-Japan Foundation held a reception to celebrate to the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Japan and Australia as well as the establishment of the Australia-Japan Foundation at the Great Hall of the Parliament House. The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Murray McLean, Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation attended the reception, as well as Opposition representative, Ms Gai Brodtmann MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence, and other members of the Australian Government. The Ambassador and Mrs Kusaka were joined by 200 guests from a wide range of areas, including Japan-related companies and organisations as well as the Australian National University. The reception was a great success and guests celebrated the 40th anniversary with a performance by world renowned Japanese pianist, Mr Nobuyuki Tsujii.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Kusaka began by thanking Prime Minister Turnbull for his attendance despite his busy schedule, and expressing his gratitude to be able to celebrate the milestone with him. The Ambassador stated that Japan is now Australia’s third largest trading partner, and bilateral trade and investment ties are steadily increasing. The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement – a natural extension of the Basic Treaty – is delivering substantial benefits to both the Japanese and Australian markets. The Ambassador continued by noting that more Japanese and Australians are visiting one another’s countries than ever before, and the Working Holiday agreement – another natural extension of the Basic Treaty – has allowed many young Japanese and Australians to gain a greater understanding of each other’s culture and way of life. Furthermore, Ambassador Kusaka expressed that we should be very proud of what we have achieved together over the past forty years and that this brilliantly demonstrates how our relationship has grown and expanded into one of the world’s most successful relationships based on mutual trust. The Ambassador concluded his remarks by describing the Basic Treaty as a sign of optimism shared by our respective governments four decades ago and that this optimism remains undiminished to this very day. (Text of the Ambassador’s speech)
In response, Prime Minister Turnbull spoke of the Basic Treaty as the first of its kind signed between Australia and any other country and it showed particular political foresight. At the time of the signing of the Basic Treaty, Australia provided between 40 to 50 per cent of Japan’s raw essential materials while the growth of Japan’s heavy industry saw it become a vital supplier of manufactured products to Australia. The Prime Minister then declared that it is no exaggeration to say that neither Australia nor Japan would be what it is today without the rich and enduring friendship that we have enjoyed over the last forty years. Furthermore, Prime Minister Turnbull said that he met with Prime Minister Abe in Laos on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit where they reaffirmed their commitment to the special strategic partnership and emphasised its importance in ensuring regional peace and stability. The forty years of extraordinary progress would not have been possible without the maintenance of stability, peace, harmony, and the rule of law. The Prime Minister continued stating that Australia and Japan will continue to be partners in the strongest possible advocacy for the rule of law and the maintenance of the international order in our region. Furthermore, Prime Minister Turnbull commented that the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement is one of the reasons Australia’s connection with Japan has been prosperous, and that the Agreement is the most liberal bilateral trade agreements Japan has ever signed. Furthermore, Prime Minister Turnbull stated that together with Prime Minister Abe they reiterated their commitment to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and continued negotiations on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Concluding his speech, the Prime Minister stated that he honoured the foresight and wisdom of past leaders who carved out a path of deeper friendship through the Basic Treaty, and that he looks forward to seeing and building the exciting new directions Japan and Australia’s shared path will take in the years ahead. (Text of the Prime Minister’s speech)
Mr Nobuyuki Tsujii performed several pieces by Chopin, Ravel and Debussy as well as an original piece, Elegy for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, March 11, 2011 in his encore performance, which was written in support of the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. In an interview following his performance, Mr Tsujii expressed his delight at performing at such a wonderful event and hoped for further growth in Japan and Australia’s friendship.            

Ambassador Kusaka Delivering his speech

Prime Minister Turnbull delivering his speech

Ambassador Kusaka, Prime Minister Turnbull, Mr Tsujii,
Ms Brodtmann, amd Mr McLean

Mr Tsujii greeting guests
Ambassador Kusaka and Mr Tsujii
Ambassador Kusaka being interviewed by Japanese media

Ceremony area

Reception area