Government of Western Australia Official Site


Report on visit of Premier Colin Barnett to Japan

Colin Barnett with koala

Colin Barnett

The visit to Japan on 5–9 March by the Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, was soon overshadowed by the massive loss of life and devastation of the Great East Japan Earthquake. We feel it is an appropriate time now to briefly note the highlights of this important visit, and its reaffirmation of the long established Japan-Western Australia relationship.

To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of WA’s sister state relationship with Hyogo Prefecture, the WA government made a gift of four koalas to the Governor of Hyogo Prefecture at the Awaji Farm Park on Sunday, 6 March. This event received extensive coverage by the Japanese media, and was extremely well received throughout Japan.

On the political front, Mr. Barnett met with the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the leader of the opposition party, who is the President of the Liberal Democratic Party. His business function included meetings with key senior executives from Inpex Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nippon Steel Corporation, Mitsui and Co., Ltd., Japan Steel Mills and the Japan Flour Milling Association.

He also addressed an investment luncheon hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Japan, which included senior executives from 13 major companies. A visit to a Mitsubishi waste management plant in Tokyo that processes domestic rubbish and produces renewable energy, provided insights into future possibilities for Western Australia.

This visit confirmed that Western Australia is well regarded amongst industry and government in Japan, who were very keen to see the planned expansions in iron ore and liquefied natural gas production in Western Australia proceed as quickly as possible. The issue of food supply security was also highlighted as a major concern, as Japan is not self-sufficient in this area. The visit also highlighted opportunities for Western Australia to significantly expand its trade and investment links, which in addition to resources and petroleum also include food, agriculture, education and tourism.