The 50th Anniversary Australia-Japan Joint Business Conference was held in Sydney this week. As Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) grant holders, Professor Ingrid Piller and Dr Kimie Takahashi were invited to attend the conference and had dinner with the Prime Minister, the Honourable Julia Gillard MP, who was the guest of honour.
It was wonderful to see our research project, Japanese on the Move, recognized as an important contribution to the bilateral relationship between Australia and Japan.
The dinner began with a message from the Prime Minister of Japan, His Excellency Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, read by His Excellency Mr. Shigekazu Sato, Ambassador of Japan to Australia. Ambassador Sato was also one of the participants in our interview project: watch him speak about personal aspects of the Australia-Japan relationship here.
Then the Chairman of the Australia-Japan Foundation, Mr. Murray McLean OAM, who for many years was the Australian ambassador to Japan, introduced the Prime Minister and she delivered the Australia-Japan Foundation’s Annual Address. She spoke about the maturity of the relationship between the two countries and highlighted in particular the fact that she was the first foreign prime minister to visit the tsunami-affected area in Tohoku after the March 2011 disaster. Indeed, as a testimony to the strong commitment of Australia to aid in disaster recovery, two majors from towns destroyed by the disaster were also in attendance.
During the dinner, we had the opportunity to share our work with the Prime Minister. We also presented her with a copy of the Japanese on the Move DVD, a copy of Ingrid Piller’s book about Intercultural Communication and a gift from our fashion sponsor Yaccomaricard.
At the dinner we also got a chance to catch up with Dr Kohara, Consul General of Japan in Sydney, who delivered a keynote address at the Japanese on the Move launch in May this year as well as another Japanese-on-the-Move participant, Yuri Takahashi, and her husband, jazz musician Mike Nock.