Tag: Australia-Japan relations

Hungover Australian PM Lauds Australia-Japan Relations

Shame!

Shame!

オーストラリア総理大臣トニーアボットが豪訪問中の日本首相安倍晋三氏と晩餐会を行い、翌朝豪テレビ番組に出演し、二日酔いでからかわれることになった。
Australia’s perennially embarrassing British-born Prime Minister Tony Abbott turns up for a TV interview fairly hung over after a night on the booze with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
アボット首相がかなり飲んだことを認めた。「責任を持った飲み方だった」というが、目がかなりやられているので、飲み方が責任を持って行ったかもしれないが全国放送で二日酔いに出演し、冗談を言うのはどうかなと思う。
If nothing else, at least the two countries seem to have decent relations.
ま、両国仲良しを喜ぶべきだろう。

A Breakout Performance Focusing on Australia’s Cowra

A scene from "Kaura no Hancho Kaigi" with Japanese POWs wearing the crimson uniforms they wore at the Cowra Prison Camp.

A scene from “Kaura no Hancho Kaigi” with Japanese POWs wearing the crimson uniforms they wore at the Cowra Prison Camp.

Kaura no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in Cowra) superbly dramatizes events surrounding a definitive incident in Australia-Japan relations.
The play being performed by the Rinkogun theater group daily until March 24 (with two shows on March 19 and 21) centers on the Cowra Breakout, an attempted escape by about 550 Japanese prisoners of war being held in an Australian POW camp in August 1944.
Interwoven with the action surrounding the decision to rebel and attempt to escape or die trying by a group of men whose own homeland had effectively killed them by bureaucracy and cultural manipulation is a tale of a group of women making a film about the incident, but also containing a sub-plot of documenting the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Overall, the result is a must-see for anyone with an interest in Australia-Japan relations, though it may not be exclusively pleasing and could raise discomforting issues that can sometimes be shoved under the carpet, prime of which is the fact that Australia and Japan were once at war and bitter, racially opposed enemies: a matter not commonly known in Japan.
HonchoLargeThe play is also an unabashedly left-wing account of events, but this is also Kaura no Hancho Kaigi’s greatest strength as it humanizes the characters, notably the Imperial Japanese Army soldiers whose wartime culture depended on their dehumanization.
Playwright Yoji Sakate‘s script admirably addresses many serious issues, but perhaps too many, and sacrifices clarity at times in an apparent effort to ensure all sides have their views presented, but this foible is only a minor one.
Made for a Japanese audience, Kaura no Hancho Kaigi is essentially a Japanese-language play, but has large swathes of English (sometimes for mysterious reasons), much of which is delivered with deplorable Australian accents by American actors John Oglevee and Benjamin Beadsley, who redeemed themselves by breaking the fourth wall to apologize for their Strine deficiency.)
Nontheless, the somewhat surreal play had a bit of everything from action, humor, tragedy and drama, and is certainly worth seeing.

カウラの班長会議Kaura no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in Cowra)
All seats reserved (prices range from 1,500 to 4,000 yen)
Showing until Sunday, March 24 at Shomokitazawa Za Suzunari
For inquiries or ticket sales, contact Rinkogun
(All inquiries should be made by a Japanese speaker)

Kanagawa Lifeguards Finish Gold Coast Stint

A group of eight lifeguards from Kanagawa Prefecture recently completed a successful stint working with counterparts on the Gold Coast as part of an exchange program.
Gold Coast City Council Acting Community and Cultural Development Chair, Cr Margaret Grummitt, said the exchange was a great opportunity to share safety information and skills.
“This exchange has been running for 12 years and promotes good relations with our Japanese counterparts. The visit helps share ideas and techniques to improve beach safety and is a great way to boost our cultural links with Japan,” she told mygc.com.au.
It was the first time Japanese lifeguards had traveled to Queensland for two years, with the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and multiple nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima curtailing last year’s plans.
Yutaka, one of the Kanagawa lifeguards involved in the exchange, told Nichigo Press — Australia’s biggest Japanese-language publication — that none of the participants were keen on returning to Japan, and urged swimmers at the Gold Coast to always go “between the flags.”

Australian Ambassador Urges Japanese TPP Involvement

Australian Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller

Australian Ambassador to Japan Bruce Miller has implored Japan to actively engage in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Miller, during an interview with a Japanese newspaper during the week, called the relationship between the two countries a “win-win” one, then went on to urge Japan to grow, saying that Asia could not grow without Japan.
Miller spoke to the newspaper about the recently released white paper, “Australia in the Asian Century,” in which Japan was named as an important partner for Australia.
Miller said that Australia can contribute to Asia in many ways, helping with economic growth through the stable supply of natural resources and contributing to regional security.
The ambassador said that security cooperation with Japan could be used in a variety of ways to contribute to regional security, such as jointly tackling terrorism, natural disaster response and maritime security.
Miller recommended Japan join in negotiations to enter the TPP, saying that it would be beneficial for it to do so. Japan is an observer to the negotiating process, but has been reluctant to actively engage due to the requirement that it open its agricultural, automotive and insurance markets to an extent greater than they are currently accessible for foreigners.
The Japanese newspaper article from Nov. 28 is reproduced below.

オーストラリア:アジア戦略白書 成長の機会、必ず手中に ミラー駐日大使に聞く
 オーストラリア政府は10月、アジアの急成長を豪州の繁栄につなげるため、経済、地域安全保障などの分野で25年までに取り組むべき目標を盛り込んだ「アジアの世紀の中の豪州」白書を発表した。ブルース・ミラー駐日大使に白書の意義や日豪協力の方向性、中国との関係を聞いた。
 中国やインド、韓国、インドネシアなどの急成長でアジア地域の広範囲に機会が広がっている。世界の経済成長(のバランス)が変化しており、我々がその機会を確実にとらえるようにしたい。豪州はアジアに多くの貢献ができる。安定的な天然資源の供給でアジア地域の経済成長を助け、地域の安全保障にも寄与する。
 日本とは「ウインウイン(互恵)」で非常に貴重な関係だ。アジア地域の他国との関係のモデルだ。アジアで日本なしの成長はありえないし、日本には成長してほしい。日本の判断を見守りたいが、環太平洋パートナーシップ協定(TPP)への日本の交渉参加は日本にとっても我々交渉参加国にとっても良いことだ。
 日本との安全保障協力は米国との同盟関係と同様、地域の安定への貢献であり、テロや気象災害、海上安全保障などあらゆるものが対象だ。ただ、(日中が対立する尖閣諸島を含む)東シナ海の問題は抑圧や侵略なく平和的な手段で解決されることを促したい。経済成長や社会の安定を目指す中国も地域の安定と平和を求めている。
 中国とは政府の仕組みが違い、米国や日本との間にあるような共通の価値観も共有していないが、とても良好な経済的関係を築き、防衛分野や政治的分野でも良好な対話を続けている。アジア地域のフォーラムへの中国の関与や、地域の安定、繁栄のための目標や貢献のあり方について認識を共有することはみなの利益だ。ただ、中国の軍事支出については透明性をより高めるようにいつも中国側にただしているし、中国の対応を期待している。