Event Reports 2023
Visit to Redland City Council
Consul-General GOMAKUBO visited Redland City Council on November 28, where he met with Mayor Karen Williams and visited the Redland Art Gallery. Redland will be hosting whitewater events for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the venue set to double as a swift-water and resilience training facility. We hope it will create many sporting and rescue training opportunities, particularly with Redland’s friendship city Kani in Gifu, Japan.
The Consul-General also paid a visit to Sirromet Winery, which has many strong connections with Japan, including through its collaboration with Kagaya ryokan. It is wonderful to see so many ties between Japan and the Redlands area. Kampai to that!
JET Programme Returnee Reception
On November 24 we welcomed back to Queensland four participants of The JET Programme at a reception held at the Consul-General’s Official Residence. The recent returnees spent their time on the programme as Assistant Language Teachers in various cities throughout Japan, integrating themselves into their local communities. The JET Programme is an initiative of the Japanese Government, having seen more than 77,000 participants since it began in 1987. We heard some wonderful stories about their time in Japan as JETs from our recent returnees, and hope they keep up their Japan connections for many years to come!
Visit by Young Australians in International Relations
We were delighted to receive delegates from the Queensland chapter of the Young Australians in International Affairs to the Official Residence on November 21. In a casual event, Consul-General Gomakubo provided a fascinating insight into the depths of the Japan-Australia relationship, covering historic, cultural, economic, security and diplomatic ties. It was a wonderful opportunity for engaging conversation and to learn about the bilateral relationship and regional issues. We hope the delegates enjoyed the event and wish them great success on their chosen career paths!
Decication Ceremony at Bonsai House
Consul-General Gomakubo, together with Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, attended a dedication ceremony at Bonsai House in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-tha this week. The ceremony formally acknowledged completion of Bonsai House, which is a collection of various plants native and exotic plants that are cultivated using numerous techniques to produce miniature specimens which mimic the form and shape of full-sized trees. Make sure to visit Bonsai House next time you are at Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens!
Visit by Vice-Governor of Tokyo, Mr NAKAMURA Rinji
Consul-General GOMAKUBO Junji recently welcomed to his official Residence Vice-Governor of Tokyo, Mr NAKAMURA Rinji, and his delegation to Brisbane, who were here to attend the 2023 Asia Pacific Cities Summit. Also in attendance were members of the Brisbane 2032 Coordination office, including CEO Graham Fraine, and Professor Caitlin Byrne of the Sports Diplomacy Advisory Council. At the Residence, Consul-General GOMAKUBO hosted a fruitful discussion and meaningful exchange of views on the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Reception for the Saitama Wild Knights and Queensland Reds Second Annual Shield Fixture
On 2 November the Consul-General hosted a reception to welcome the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights to Brisbane for their second annual Shield fixture with the Queensland Reds. We were honoured to have representatives from both teams, including coaches Les Kiss and Robbie Deans. Members of the Saitama Kenjinkai also attended, bringing Kobaton, Saitama prefecture’s friendly mascot! The Queensland Reds have retained the Saitama-Queensland Shield with a narrow 31-29 victory at the match on Saturday. Congratulations to both teams on their hard work, and to Queensland for a hard work game. Rugby has a special place in the hearts of both Australians and Japanese, and we look forward to seeing friendship and goodwill between the two teams continue to flourish and grow.
Visit to Wellers Hill State School
Consul-General GOMAKUBO visited Wellers Hill State School on October 19 to learn more about their Japanese bilingual program. Wellers Hill offers the opportunity for students in years 1-6 to study the Australian curriculum half in English and half in Japanese! The Consul-General was impressed by how engaged, well-behaved, and confident in Japanese the young students were! Thank you to Deputy Principal Luisa Battye and the staff at Wellers Hill for the warm welcome.
Visit by Inage High School
We were delighted to welcome students from Inage High School in Chiba Prefecture to the Consulate on October 13. Students learned about the important work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and what a future career in diplomacy could look like as part of a school trip to Queensland. We would like to wish students all the best for the rest of their stay in Australia, and hope they may be inspired to return as diplomats themselves one day.
Edenvale Solar Park Opening Ceremony
The opening ceremony of Edenvale Solar Park was held near Chinchilla last week, marking another Japan-Australia clean energy collaboration. Consul-General Gomakubo noted in his remarks how important the renewable energy and critical mineral sectors are in the economic partnership between Japan and Queensland, and how this project is another step towards decarbonising and acquiring clean and sustainable energy. Situated on 428 hectares on Queensland’s Western Downs, Edenvale Solar Park is owned by joint venture partners Sojitz Corporation and ENEOS Australia Pty Ltd.
Japan and Friends Day 2023
It was an awesome day at this year’s Japan & Friends Day held on the Gold Coast last weekend! The annual event is a showcase of all things Japanese, including taiko drumming, traditional dancing, karate demonstration, traditional arts and crafts, and plenty of food. In his opening remarks, Consul-General Gomakubo spoke about the integral role the event plays in bridging our two cultures, inspiring locals to visit Japan!
Katie Rose Cottage Hospice Japanese Garden
Consul-General Gomakubo was honoured to be invited to the opening of the Japanese gardens at Katie Rose Cottage Hospice last week. Mr Gomakubo remarked that a hospice is a place where peace, beauty and taste of life are important, and there is nothing more suitable than a Japanese garden. We would like to pay our deep respects to everyone involved in the creation of these beautiful gardens and to the team of talented volunteer gardeners who worked together to make it happen.
North Queensland Clean Energy Project
Consul-General Gomakubo had the honour of providing some remarks at a signing ceremony for the North Queensland Clean Energy Project (HyNQ), an integrated renewable energy, green hydrogen and ammonia production and export facility. The event signified Japanese company IHI Corporation joining the consortium of Australian and global energy players developing the project. Mr Gomakubo welcomed the further step towards a sustainable society through cooperation between Japan and Australia.
2023 UQJX Speech Contest
On August 26, Consul-General GOMAKUBO took part in the UQJX Speech Contest as a judge. This year’s theme was “What I want to be in the future” (私がなりたい、将来の姿). We are proud to see such strong commitment to learning Japanese, and were impressed with the high level of Japanese by the participants. Congratulations Seyed Shobeiri Nejad, who took out first place, and to all who participated.
Japanese war brides: A Queensland Story
On Friday 25 August the Consulate-General co-hosted “Japanese war brides: A Queensland Story” with the Queensland State Archives. Speakers Dr TAMURA Keiko and Ms Elysha Rei provided an insightful window into the experiences of the over 650 Japanese women who migrated to Australia over 70 years ago as wives of Australian servicemen, many of whom were stationed in Kure, Hiroshima. On display were several fascinating historical items, including a Japanese typewriter used by Mrs Akiko Kirkham at UQ, and a guidebook called “Know Japan”, which was distributed to Australian soldiers during the occupation and advised servicemen to avoid fraternisation. This talk was run as a QSA Talks and Consulate Conversations event, and we were honoured to be joined by local Japanese, Japanese researchers, Australians of Japanese descent, and family members of war brides, who shared their own perspectives during a warm and heartfelt Q&A session.
The Japan National Tourism Organization - JNTO Japan Roadshow was back in Brisbane this week. Consul-General Gomakubo noted in his remarks that Japan has an abundance of wonderful nature, culture, and cuisine that many Australians have already experienced, but there are still more attractions which the Japanese tourism industry can discover and offer through the eyes of international tourists. Japan offers something for everyone, and with more flights between Japan and Queensland being added, travel is expected to become more active than ever before!
Consul-General’s Visit to Far North Queensland
Consul-General’s visit to FNQ (Part 1: Cairns)
On 12 August the Consul-General departed for Cairns. On the morning of his arrival, he visited the Cairns Japanese Supplementary School and observed a class there. He then laid flowers at the cenotaph of the memorial garden dedicated to Ms Michiko Okuyama, a Japanese national who was murdered in Cairns in 1997. In the afternoon, he attended the Cairns Japan Bon Dance Festival at the Cairns Esplanade Western Event Lawn together with Cr Bob Manning OAM, Mayor of Cairns. This festival is co-hosted every year by the Japanese Society of Cairns and the Consular Office of Japan in Cairns, and is supported by the Cairns Regional Council. This year’s event was a spectacular success, with attendees including not only local residents, but also representatives from Cairn’s sister city Minami City, Tokushima Prefecture, and visitors from Tobishima Village, Aichi Prefecture.
Consul-General’s visit to FNQ (Part 2: Horn Island)
On the afternoon of Sunday, 13 August, the Consul-General flew from Cairns to Horn Island and visited the Torres Strait Heritage Museum. There, he learned about the history of Japanese immigrants who worked as pearl divers, and the state of Torres Strait Island during WWII.
Consul-General’s visit to FNQ (Part 3: Friday Island)
On the morning of Monday, August 14, the Consul-General took at 15-minute water taxi from Horn Island to Friday Island, the home of Mr TAKAMI Kazuyoshi, who has operated a pearl farm there for 50 years. Mr Takami shared his experiences living on the island and working on the pearl farm. The island itself has fewer than 20 residents, and essential items must be imported from Cairns via Horn Island. Residents are largely self-sufficient on locally produced fish and vegetables. ABF patrol boats are said to occasionally visit the island to buy local produce.
Consul-General’s visit to FNQ (Part 4: Thursday Island)
Around noon on August 14, the Consul-General took another water taxi from Friday Island to Thursday Island. After a lap around the island, the Consul-General paid a courtesy call on Mayor Yen Loban of the Torres Shire Council. On Tuesday the 15th, the Consul-General attended a memorial service for Obon at the local cemetery, where over 700 Japanese immigrants are buried. The service was also attended by Mayor Loban and local residents of Japanese descent. After the ceremony, the attendees gathered for a social dinner, during which the Consul-General was able to deepen his understanding of the history Japanese diaspora on the island and modern day lives of the residents through engaging conversation.
Consul-General’s visit to FNQ (Part 5: Cairns)
In the afternoon of Tuesday, 15 August, the Consul-General returned to Cairns via Horn Island. That evening, he met with representatives of the Japanese Society of Cairns for a casual gathering. On the morning of the 16th, the Consul-General paid a courtesy call on Mayor Manning to convey his thanks to the Cairns Regional Council for their support of the Cairns Japan Bon Dance Festival held on the 12th. He also asked for the continued support and protection of local Japanese residents and Japanese visitors to Cairns.
Inaugural Australia Japan Dinner
It was a packed room at the inaugural Australia Japan Dinner this week at the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane. Hosted by Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc (QJCCI) and Australia Japan Society Qld Inc, the dinner brought together members and guests of Australia-Japan related organisations from diverse backgrounds including business, education, government and cultural to meet and celebrate the shared interest in Japan. Consul-General Gomakubo had the attention of the room as he provided an insightful presentation into 10 things you should know about the Japanese economy. Entertainment rounded out the evening with taiko drumming performed by UQ Taiko. Thank you to all the Japan-related organisations for providing a wonderful evening!
Australia Japan Society of Queensland Career Seminar
The Consulate-General was proud to co-host the Australia-Japan Society Career Seminar on August 10. We were delighted to have so many enthusiastic guests in attendance to hear speakers Arabella Dove, Candice Ungerer, and Michelle Allan present on their broad experiences across the Japan sector. Thank you to everyone who joined us for an inspiring evening!
Meeting with Chuo University Students
On August 9, Consul-General GOMAKUBO met with students from Chuo University who are visiting Brisbane as part of a month-long study tour to Queensland University of Technology. These students are studying ITL (information technology and law), and are in Australia to improve their English skills while engaging in IT workshops and company visits. We hope their time in Australia has provided them with a global mindset and opened up new opportunities for their future careers.
Japanese Cultural Day in the Botanic Gardens
Thank you for joining us for another successful Japanese Cultural Day in the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens! Visitors braved the rain to get a taste of traditional Japanese culture including flower arrangement, calligraphy, bonsai, rice cake making, tea ceremony, and delicious Japanese food. Activities took place across the gardens, and utilised the Japanese garden and the beautiful new Bonsai House, which opened in November 2022 in celebration of the Kobe-Brisbane sister city agreement. Kids also enjoyed Kamishibai storytelling featuring ‘Tom’ the Shorebird on his journey between the Yatsu Higata Tidelands in Narashino, Japan, and Brisbane’s Boondall Wetlands, which share a sister wetland agreement.
2023 JET Programme Farewell Reception
On 27 July we farewelled our 2023 JET Programme participants. This year we have ten JETs departing from Brisbane to cities and towns all over Japan, including three who arrived in Japan in April. Participants will spend at least a year in Japan sharing Australian culture and English while learning all about Japan. We were also honoured to have in attendance teachers from Osaka and Saitama, and a representative from the Hiroshima Board of Education, who are visiting Australia as part of a program by the Department of Education Queensland International. These educators work with ALTs in Japan, and provided advice and support to our JETs. Thank you for joining us, and for your support of the JET Programme!
Visit to the University of Southern Queensland
The Consul-General received a very warm welcome on his recent visit to the University of Southern Queensland Springfield Campus on July 25. UniSQ has strong connections with Japan through its specialist English programs, and is developing even deeper ties in research and industry. Its Toowoomba Campus boasts one of the largest Japanese gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, and is a symbol of longstanding friendship with Toowoomba’s sister city Takatsuki, Osaka. The Consul-General also met with visiting Japanese students from Ikuno High School who are learning Medical English at UniSQ, and toured the English classroom facilities at the Union Institute of Language (UIL).
Visit by students from Ageo City
The Consulate was delighted to welcome students from across Ageo City on 22 July. 22 students from 11 high schools arrived in Australia to undertake a farm stay and visit Lockyer Valley SHS as part of a sister city agreement between Ageo City and Lockyer Valley. Consulate staff shared information about the role of a Consulate and life as a diplomat, as well as warning them about a certain salty condiment they may encounter in Australia. We would like to wish them all the best during their time in Australia!
JS Izumo in Brisbane
We were delighted to welcome the flagship of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, the JS Izumo, to Brisbane in July in the lead up to Talisman Sabre 2023. JMSDF hosted Consulate representatives and other guests from Southeast Queensland on board for a special luncheon and tour, highlighting their new runway which will support F-35B landings, and the ship’s museum which featured wood from the ship’s namesake Izumo Shrine, the oldest shrine in Japan. We would like to wish the JS Izumo and the JMSDF all the best with exercise Talisman Sabre!
Australia-Japan Businesswomen’s Network Launch
Deputy Consul-General MASUDA Chieko was delighted to attend the launch of the Australia-Japan Businesswomen’s Network – Queensland Chapter. Hosted by co-chairs Arabella Dove and Julie Yamamoto, the evening provided a unique opportunity to empower businesswomen and strengthen ties within Queensland-Japan communities.
Commemoration for the 81st Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea
On May 6, Consul-General GOMAKUBO attended a commemoration for the 81st Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea at Newstead Park. Mr GOMAKUBO laid a wreath at the cenotaph as a symbol of gratitude for peace and a sincere hope for the continuation of the long-standing friendship between Japan and Australia.
2023 MLTAQ Japanese Network Conference
Deputy Consul-General MASUDA was honoured to officially open the 2023 MLTAQ Japanese Network Conference on May 6. The conference brought together Japanese language teachers from around Queensland to network, communicate ideas, and share their passion for language education. Mr Chris Rees, former Consul-General of Australia to Osaka, provided an engaging and thought provoking keynote speech. The conference also included an Ikebana flower arrangement workshop by Ikenobo QLD, where participants created and took home their very own ikebana! We hope participants enjoyed the chance to experience this traditional aspect of Japanese culture, and took away some fun ideas for their own Japanese classes.
Arrival of new Consul-General
We are delighted to introduce the new Consul-General of Japan to Brisbane, Mr GOMAKUBO Junji. This will be Consul-General GOMAKUBO’s first posting in Australia after many years of service across mainly France and Africa. He looks forward to connecting with the local Queensland community and working to further ties with Japan during this exciting time in the relationship.
Visit by Jumonji Gakuen High School
In March Jumonji Gakuen High school visited Queensland as part of an international study tour. Jumonji High is one of the top performing soccer schools in Japan, and were runners up in this year's All Japan High Schools Football Championships Finals. Their trip included friendly matches against The Queensland Schools Premier League (SPL), and a visit to the University of Queensland (ranked 2nd in the world for sports-related subjects) to find out more about pathways to a career in sports science.
We hope the girls enjoyed their visit to Australia. We have been delighted to see such a wonderful display of sportsmanship and sports diplomacy in soccer ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup this July.
Farewell to Participants on the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council Program
We said goodbye to the participants of the 2022-23 Japan Agricultural Exchange Council Program at a farewell reception this week hosted by Consul-General ONO. The trainees spent the past year in the Bowen region, studying English and working on various farms, acquiring knowledge of the growing, production, and agribusiness of Queensland produce. The program provides mutually-beneficial outcomes for the trainees, the farms, and the entire region.
We thank Bowen Gumlu Growers for providing such generous support and assistance, and the local community in the Bowen region for so warmly welcoming the Japanese trainees. So enjoyable has the past year been that three of the trainees have decided to return in May and work on various farms in the region!
Visit to Queensland University of Technology by University of Tokyo
Consul-General was delighted to meet with Queensland University of Technology staff and visiting engineering students from The University of Tokyo. These students are in Brisbane for one month, studying at QUT and learning all about Australia and opportunities for research and innovation, particularly in future industries. We would like to wish them all the best with their studies and look forward to seeing further cooperation between Japan and QUT.
JET Programme Returnee Reception
On 3 March, the Consulate hosted a reception for 10 recent JET Programme participants who have returned to QLD. We celebrated their return with the wider JET community, including the JET Alumni Association, former JETs and supporters of the JET Programme. The JET Programme provides long-term benefits for the local communities where JETs are placed, the participants themselves, and the bilateral relationship as a whole. JET Alumni make up a vast network of over 70,000 participants, now working across a wide range of industries.
This is the first time the Consulate has been able to host this event since 2019, so it was a very special opportunity to welcome back JETs old and new into the Brisbane-Japan community. We hope you will always fondly remember your time in Japan and treasure your second furusato.
2023 Emperor's Birthday Reception
On February 22 the Consulate celebrated the 63rd birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in the presence of honoured guests and friends of the Japan community. Attendees were serenaded by Ms YOSHIMOTO Natsuko of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the room was decorated with gorgeous ikebana displays from the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. The evening also provided an opportunity to showcase Japanese innovation, produce and culinary delights in a celebration of Japanese culture and industry.
We would like to express our most sincere thanks to all who attended, including Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM, Governor of Queensland, The Hon Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Representing the Premier of Queensland, Mr John-Paul Langbroek MP, Representing the Leader of Opposition, and The Right Hon Cr Adrian Schrinner, Lord Mayor of Brisbane.
We would also like to thank the following companies for their cooperation:
FRUCOR SUNTORY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
JUN PACIFIC QLD PTY LTD
KOBAYASHI HEALTHCARE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
NIPPON FOOD SUPPLIES COMPANY PTY LTD
STARZEN AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION AUSTRALIA LIMITED
OSAKA, KANSAI, JAPAN EXPO 2025
JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION
Consul-General's Commendation for Dr MIZUNO Tetsuo
Consul-General ONO was delighted to present Dr MIZUNO Tetsuo with a Certificate of Commendation to celebrate his important contributions to Queensland-Japan relations. Dr MIZUNO has dedicated himself to promoting cross-cultural understanding through the establishment of sister-city and sister-school relationships (including with Redlands City in Queensland and Kani City in Gifu Prefecture, Japan), and in wildlife conservation and education through his organisation Australia-Japan Wildlife Conservation and Education Foundation (AJWCEF).
Congratulations to Dr MIZUNO, and thank you for all that you have done.