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Inaugural Japan Festival highlights close ties


Western Australia’s relationship with Japan was recognised and celebrated in the Japan Festival in Perth in late February. Mike Nahan, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, attended the official launch in the Hyogo Friendship Garden near State Parliament. The garden commemorates the 30th anniversary of Western Australia’s Sister State Relationship with Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, and was gift to the State in 2011.

“The Japan Festival is a wonderful example of the Japanese community in Perth working together with other West Australians and local businesses to promote Japanese culture and a greater awareness of the long-standing relationship between Japan and Western Australia,” Dr Nahan said. “There is a vibrant Japanese community living in Western Australia with more than 3,500 Japanese-born residents living in the State.”

At a gala dinner for 290 people, including Japanese Consul General in Perth Koichi Funayama, to mark the start of the festival, Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett talked about the strong ties: “Western Australia and Japan have a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship that is rooted in our strong trade ties and shared history. From the Japanese pearlers that plied the waters of Roebuck Bay, to the Japanese investment as a foundation customer in the State’s iron ore and liquefied natural gas sectors, our relationship has been built on a cultural and economic exchange over many decades.”

The Japan Festival is the initiative of a number of Japanese organizations in Perth to promote Japanese culture and friendship.  Events on the festival calendar included an agriculture seminar and a free community festival, and displays of Japanese food, craft, martial arts, pop culture, fashion, music and dance.

This is the first time the Japan Festival has been held in Perth and event organisers hope it will become an annual event.