Remarks by the Consul-General at the Emperor's Birthday Reception on February 26, 2021
Your Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, the Governor of Queensland and Mrs de Jersey,
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland and Minister for Trade,
The Honourable Justice Catherine Holmes AC, Chief Justice of Queensland,
The Right Honourable Councillor Adrian Schrinner, Lord Mayor of Brisbane,
Ministers, Shadow Ministers, Members of Queensland Parliament, Senators and House Members of the Parliament of Australia, Mayors and Councillors,
Representatives of Australian Defence Forces, Commissionors,
My colleague Consuls-General and Consuls,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank you all for attending this reception to celebrate the 61st birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
The year since we gathered here for the previous occasion has been a very challenging one for everyone throughout the world – from health, economic and emotional perspectives. Despite the disruptions to society on multiple levels, I feel we are coming out of this period of difficulty with global vaccine rollouts taking place, and a new normal emerging.
I should admit the commitment of governments of both this State and the Commonwealth, which make this current fairly stable COVID situation possible, and I would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt appreciation, particularly to frontline health workers, caregivers and all those involved to that end on behalf of all the Japanese residents in Queensland.
The Japan-Queensland relationship is certainly in a favourable position, on back of those trailblazers who put basis of this relationship. In this regards, I would like to point out that the Year 2021 marks the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Japan’s first Consulate in this country, not in Sydney, neither in Melbourne or Brisbane, but in Townsville back in 1896. This reflected the large number of Japanese living and working in the Far North Queensland, predominantly as pearl-shell divers in the Torres Straits Islands, such as Thursday Island and as sugarcane workers in the coastal towns and villages.
Over these years, although we experienced some turbulences during the WWII, Japan and Queensland have developed, starting with a complementary economic relationship mainly in resources such as coals and agricultural and livestock produce, a vibrant relationship in various areas, including business, culture, education and tourism, and this trend is set to continue.
You may remember that despite the quarantine after his return to the Lodge during the parliamentary sitting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was the first world leader to visit Tokyo to meet our new Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide last November, where both leaders reaffirmed the Special Strategic Partnership we share. This is my personal feeling that through my nearly 40 years involvement in Japan Australia relations we are at the highest of mutual understanding and relation. At the same time, I believe that the sky is the limit for our future relationship and our continued dedication and efforts are vital in this regard, in which I put my trust.
Last but not least, I should congratulate all Queenslanders for yesterday’s announcement by the IOC of Brisbane as the preferred candidate city to host 2032 Summer Games. The forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games could be the occasion for the IOC’s formal decision and I look forward to seeing the Premier attend the Tokyo games with happier smile together with many athletes from around the world.
Please enjoy the essence of Japan through various displays, which include flavour, technology, and hospitality, thanks to the Japanese companies who have assisted us with sharing their products and information.
I would now like to propose the Loyal Toast, to her Majesty the Queen.
“To the Queen and the people of Australia”
Cheers / Kanpai