Reimagining the Japan Relationship project

Why Reimagine the Japan relationship?

Japan has been the anchor of Australia’s relationships in Asia, built on the strategic decisions both countries made in the past 70 years. The bilateral relationship is underpinned by a strong and complementary economic relationship, deep and broad people-to-people ties and a close and growing political and security relationship.

The global and regional context in which the Australia-Japan relationship was developed to thrive in is no more. Seeking to ensure the bilateral relationship is fit-for-purpose to today’s situation and to future-proof it for what the future may bring is a critical task. In short, Australia needs to reimagine its relationship with Japan.

Australia-Japan Research Centre (AJRC) will contribute to this by developing a report that examines Australia’s engagement with Japan and how the relationships needs to be positioned for the future. It will examine how Australia might strengthen and expand its economic, political, people-to-people and security relationship with Japan to achieve Australia’s national, regional and global interests.

The report aims to produce a set of recommendations for deepening the Japan relationship, an agenda for cooperation, and identification of gaps in the relationship. Through consultation with Australian business, government, civil society and the community, the report aims to outline how Australia can better understand and deepen the Japan relationship and build capacity to shape the bilateral relationship, with a focus on how Australia can position to actively respond to major challenges that both countries now face in recovery from COVID-19, a more uncertain external environment, and for decades to come.

Key questions the project will examine include: Is Australia making the most of the Japan relationship? Are there areas Australia has underinvested in its relationship with Japan? Is Japan-literacy adequate across Australian government, business, universities and the community?

Stakeholder and community engagement will be crucial to the success of this project. AJRC invites interested researchers, individuals and organisations to make written submissions by Friday 30 July 2021 through the make a submission link. The AJRC team will be conducting roundtables and meetings throughout the year with selected stakeholders.

About the Australia-Japan Research Centre

The ANU’s Australia-Japan Research Centre was established in 1980 as a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese governments and business. It has been the preeminent centre in Australia and recognised globally for its study of the Japanese economy, the Australia-Japan relationship and its place in shaping Japan’s role in the region. It has played a major role in understanding the importance of the relationship with Japan and developing both countries’ regional initiatives and engagement over the years.

The project endeavours to change how Australia can reimagine the Japan relationship and to influence the strategic repositioning of Australia’s relationship with Japan in broader regional architecture and institution building.

AJRC’s Advisory Board was reconstituted in 2019 and will play a key role in the development of the Reimagining the Japan Relationship project.

Project Timeline

March 15 - Submissions for the Reimagining the Japan Relationship open.

July 30 - Submissions for the Reimagining the Japan Relationship close.

Late 2021 - Project completed and report released.

Australia-Japan Foundation

AJRC thanks the Australia-Japan Foundation for their generous support of the project.

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