The Perth USAsia Centre hosted the Hon Richard Court, Australia's Ambassador to Japan at The University of Western Australia for a Private Roundtable Luncheon.
- Political stability has been one of Japan's assets. Early in 2017 the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan were strong, business confidence were hire, profits were strong and opinion polls were high. Recent events such as: the introduction of the 'conspiracy bill', Prime Minister Abe's continual push to amend the constitution, the result of the Tokyo elections and strong national movement led by Yuriko Koike, have meant that despite Prime Minister Abe's recent increase in the opinion polls, the LDB could return to power in the upcoming elections however they may face a decrease in numbers and a strong oppostion.
- Japan's economy has undergone changes since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. In spite of Japan losing 30% of its energy generation after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the country has experiences 6 quarters of consequetive economic growth. Japan has begun the 30-40 year process of decommissioning the nuclear power plants damaged in the disaster. It is currently looking to reform both its education and childcare systems and isseeking to increase consumption tax from 8% to 10% to 'improve human development'.
- There are two main issues driving Japan's defence concerns. The growing assertiveness of China and the North Korea situation are fueling Japan's current denfence concerns. South Korea, Japan, China and the United States understand the seriousness of the North Korea situation and are communicating with one another to find a solution. Prime Minister Abe is very supportive of employing the strongest measures possible to stabilise the region.
- The Australia-Japan bilateral relationship is one of the strongest bilateral relationships in the globe. The bilateral relationship is one based on foregiveness, reconciliation, trust and respect. Japan has been pivotal to the success of Australia's resource industries and the presence of Australia is shown most prominently through the tourism industry in Japan.
The Australian economy since the Second World War has been built on the foundations of selling resources to Japan when it reconstructed, to Korea when it went through its economic miracle and of course the biggest change in the world, the emergence of China. When you look at that North Asian market, it is absolutely crucial that we encourage free trade, political stability and certainly, when there is any uncertainty, we need to be a part of the teamwork to try and resolve those situations.
- Australia's Ambassador to Japan, the Honourable Richard Court AC
is a Research and Program Assistant at the Perth USAsia Centre.