The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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Media Release

FA160 - 4 November 2002

Second Australia Japan Conference

I will deliver the keynote address at the second Australia-Japan Conference which will be held in Tokyo from 7 to 8 November. This conference follows the successful hosting of the first Australia-Japan Conference in Sydney in April 2001.

Australia and Japan are strong regional partners and share a close, broadly-based friendship. The second Australia-Japan Conference for a Creative Partnership, one of the major events on the Australia-Japan 2002 calendar, is an important opportunity to further broaden and strengthen these ties.

This year's conference will focus on four themes: political and strategic issues, economic issues, e-learning as a means of education and exchange, and science and technology for the aging society. Eminent Australian and Japanese participants, drawn from political, business, academic and community fields, will discuss a range of topics under each of these themes, with the aim of identifying key recommendations on cooperative action for the mutual benefit of our two countries. Leading business figures, Mr Jerry Ellis and Mr Minoru Murofushi, will co-chair the conference.

The Tokyo conference aims to build on the significant outcomes of last year's inaugural conference in Sydney. That conference produced a number of innovative and forward-looking recommendations on economic, scientific, strategic and cultural issues that have since been translated into important actions to move the relationship forward, often into new areas of cooperation.

Our relationship has continued to grow through enhanced high-level political dialogue, evidenced by visits to Japan by the Prime Minister and other Ministers, and Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to Australia in May this year. We have also improved strategic cooperation, including the establishment of a 1.5-track security dialogue process comprising academics and officials in their private capacity. We have commenced consultations to explore options for deeper economic linkages and we have convened the inaugural Japan-Australia Higher Education Forum.

The second Australia-Japan conference is a tangible demonstration of our two countries' continued commitment to a productive partnership across a range of issues, based on shared interests in the promotion of democracy, regional stability and prosperity. I look forward to the conference outcomes as vital contributors to our ongoing efforts to keep our relationship strong, relevant and vigorous well into the new century.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


 

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