Message from the Consul-General
Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane since 27 April 2023
My name is GOMAKUBO Junji, and I took up my post as Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane on April 27, 2023.
Perhaps it will come as little surprise to those of you reading this greeting letter to enumerate the depth of the diverse relationship between Japan and Queensland, or Japan and Australia, whose bilateral relations are, from a global perspective, quite ideal. Since the 1960s, many Japanese companies, organisations, and individuals have established themselves in Australia in key economic sectors including resources, tourism, and agriculture. I firmly believe that this extensive engagement is indicative of the strength and profoundness of our bilateral ties. This is further evidenced by an expansion in recent years into areas including housing, healthcare, nursing, transportation, and urban development.
Hydrogen in particular has been growing in importance as a new source of energy for several years now. Here in the Sunshine State there are plans to produce green hydrogen through solar power, and businesses in both Japanese and Australian companies are now proceeding to the proof testing phase with a view to commercialisation. Projects for green ammonia production are also actively underway. For many years, Queensland has contributed to Japan’s stable supply of energy, mineral resources, and agricultural produce, which are indispensable for Japanese people’s lives and the economy, and is becoming an increasingly important partner for Japan as we move towards a decarbonised society.
Another notable aspect of the relationship that has deepened in recent years is the security sector. In an increasingly challenging security environment within the Indo-Pacific, Australia and Japan, which share many common interests and values such as human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, have focused on strengthening their ties. One example of this can be seen right here in Queensland, where in 2015, Japan was invited for the first time to participate in one of the largest joint military exercises between Australia and the US. Japan continues to be an active participant in these exercises to this day.
Of course, the relationship between Japan and Queensland is not built on national level economic and political ties alone. Our robust, friendly relations have developed from a foundation of active, rich, and diverse exchange at a community level. Queensland and Japan share over 30 sister city and similar relationships, covering a broad range of sectors including economics, education, and culture. Prior to my arrival in Brisbane, I visited Saitama Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture and Kobe City, three regions that share sister-ties with Queensland. I feel very encouraged by the passion these regions held for strengthening relations, and the strong affinity they felt towards the friendly and open people of Queensland.
One of the cornerstones of the friendship between our two nations is Australia’s strong Japanese-language education program. According to research by the Japan Foundation, there are approximately 410,000 students of Japanese in Australia from primary school to university level, and Australia has the largest number of students per capita in the world. Queensland has the highest number of learners, with 150,000 students in the Sunshine State alone.
I feel honoured and grateful to be posted as Consul-General of Japan in the charming state of Queensland, located in such a wonderful country that everyone would like to visit at least once.
I myself have worked in French speaking countries for many years, primarily in France and African countries, but also in the Middle East. I have visited the Asia-Pacific on business trips during my time in the Economic Affairs Bureau and the International Cooperation Bureau, but my professional experience in Australia is largely limited to four visits I made for the Australian APCE (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in 2007.
However, back in my student days many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Australia as part of a one-month English language program organised through the Japan-Australia Student Exchange Federation (JASEF), which also included some sightseeing. It was my first trip abroad. A number of events unfolded due to the tension and curiosity of being in a foreign country, but my experience in Australia became a warmly cherished memory of my youth. Now, returning to Australia for the first time in many years, I feel both a sweet sentimentality and a weighty new sense of responsibility and duty having been appointed here as Consul-General.
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Queensland’s approximately 28,000 Japanese residents and visitors, whether they are here for travel, study or business, is a top priority for the Consulate-General. Now that we are emerging from COVID-19 restrictions, travel between Japan and Queensland has begun to rapidly recover, and is expected to continue to improve and grow moving forward.
The Consulate-General of Japan in Brisbane is committed to improving our consular services to ensure safety, security and convenience, while also responding to community feedback. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is ever anything we can do to assist you.