Session Information

Saturday 20 November 2021

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Session 1 - Pandemic Politics: Governance in COVID-19 and Beyond

8:45 AM - 9:45 AM (JST) / 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM (AEDT)

The political landscapes in both Australia and Japan are undergoing a period of upheaval, with questions on the policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic forming the backdrop to looming elections.

In September 2021, Yoshihide Suga abruptly stepped down after a year-long term as Prime Minister of Japan, and Fumio Kishida became Japan’s 100th Prime Minister just before the lower house election. Australia is due for an election before May 2022 and, while the polls put Labor ahead of the Coalition, the Australian public know from experience to expect the unexpected.

Each leader will be tasked with critical governance problems such as the economic and political response to COVID-19. And more imminently, repelling any concerns that Japan’s era of ‘revolving door’ leadership is again on the horizon. Not to mention, the 2020 Olympics put a spotlight on Japan’s crisis governance capabilities from which Australia can take lessons for Brisbane 2032.

The dominance of COVID-19 in the political landscape has seen an increasing appetite for stability. While both Australia and Japan have been among the global frontrunners in the pandemic response, a hard-line approach is no longer viable in populations plagued by serious pandemic fatigue. Can these governments afford to continue their hardline approach? What will the new ‘COVID normal’ mean in the political sphere and what can we expect in 2022 and beyond?

Session 2 - Tensions and Ties: Japan and Australia in an Uncertain Indo-Pacific

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (JST) / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (AEDT)

This panel is an opportunity to discuss strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific. Japan and Australia have increasingly become ‘anchors’ for the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, balancing a China which is no longer hiding its ambition to become the region’s rule maker. The Indo-Pacific has now transformed into a rapidly stretching regional concept which accommodates not just the Quad but even the EU. As the competition for power and influence intensifies in the Indo-Pacific, Australia and Japan face a more contested and uncertain security environment.

From the Korean Peninsula to the Taiwan Strait and the South and East China Seas, heightened regional tensions seem only to present more opportunities for conflict. In response, Australia and Japan are solidifying their security networks, including the Quad and most recently the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) pact. At home, meanwhile, the regional states are swiftly adopting protectionist measures under the name of national security.

Uncertainty has brought the two countries together, aligning our visions for a stable Indo-Pacific, but what will it take for Japan and Australia to achieve their vision for the region? And to what extent can they rely on others in the region and beyond to support them?

Session 3 - Crisis Simulation

11:45 AM - 1:45 PM (JST) / 1:45 PM - 3:45 PM (AEDT)

Team exercise simulating a crisis in the Australia-Japan space.

Session 4 - Pursuing Parity: Gender Equality Challenges and Opportunities

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (JST) / 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (AEDT)

In 2021, issues of gender equality continue to underscore key social and political debates in both Australia and Japan. Japan, ranked 120th out of 156 countries in the most recent World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, continues to grapple with the lasting impact of the #metoo movement, while seeing debates over gender equality play out in issues of imperial succession and the underwhelming results of Abe’s ‘womenomics’.

In Australia, enduring lockdowns have seen an increase in the prevalence and severity of domestic and family violence. Gender issues continue to form a backdrop to policy, with both sides of politics plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct, and will only increase in relevance as the next election nears closer.

These issues are only the tip of the iceberg, and require collective action that places individuals at the centre of change. How can the next generation of youth secure a seat at the table and create meaningful change?

Session 5 - Cultural Activity

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM (JST) / 5:15 PM - 6:00 PM (AEDT)

ITO EN is one of Japan’s largest tea companies producing approximately one quarter of the nation’s green tea. For generations, it has conserved and further mastered the culture of tea-making. Originally, tea was only available to a select customer-base given that it was only sold in a limited number of specialty stores. ITO EN challenged this cultural expectation by developing a method of packaging tea leaves in smaller quantities so customers can readily purchase these at supermarkets. Innovation didn’t stop there with the company launching the world’s first canned oolong tea in 1980 and inventing the world’s first canned sencha (green tea) beverage in 1984.

ITO EN is not only a cultural ambassador of green tea but used tea as a lever to connect Japan and Australia. In 1994, ITO EN embarked on a new adventure of tea growing in Wangaratta, Victoria. Since then, ITOEN’s flagship brand Oi Ocha Green Tea has been formulated with 100% Australian grown green tea. Currently, Australia is the only country besides China that ITO EN produces tea leaves outside of Japan.

In this session, Mr Sato will draw from his experience of working in Japan, US and Australia and discuss his perspective of what culture means to him.

This will be followed by discussing particular insights on Japanese tea culture using one of the episodes from the 15th century of Japan and conclude with the opportunity to participate in a tea-tasting session generously provided by ITO EN.

Sunday 21 November 2021

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Session 6 - Economic Mateship: Business and Trade across Australia and Japan

8:45 AM - 9:45 AM (JST) / 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM (AEDT)

Australia and Japan have long had a robust trade relationship. The decades-long economic partnership between Australia and Japan in the energy sector has been a critical foundation of their complementary relationship. On the economic diplomacy front, Japan with the help of Australia has managed to materialise the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after the US withdrawal, and both countries are party to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), expected to enter into force in 2022.

Various factors and cross-currents in the drastically changing global economic system, such as the evolution of economic rule-setting, carbon neutrality, and human rights and business norms, will no doubt affect both the Australian and Japanese economies. The continuing trade tensions between China and the United States also remains as an uncertainty. Despite these challenges, there is room for optimism when focusing on Australia-Japan economic relations, particularly when it comes to agriculture, education, and research and development. Panellists are invited to share their experiences and views on areas of high growth and promise between Australia and Japan.

Session 7 - Economies and Ecosystems: Sustainability and the ESG Movement

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (JST) / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (AEDT)

Both Australia and Japan are facing challenges in grappling with a swiftly decarbonising world. In Australia, Scott Morrison has announced he will attend COP26 in Glasgow, despite initial hesitation. Meanwhile, Japan announced its net zero 2050 target in October 2020 and a 2030 emissions reduction target of 46% in April of this year, falling short of the 60% target necessary to hold global warming at 1.5°C.

Japan and Australia continue to explore a roadmap for mutual benefit and collaboration throughout this transition. Both countries have identified similar opportunities in hydrogen and ammonia, and Australia has seen renewable electricity deployment soar, while Japan is transforming its regulated utility model for electric power.

Outside of party rooms, corporates are coming under increasing pressure to disclose information about carbon footprints and climate change risks, with both countries participating in national and multilateral forums discussing these policies. It is the pressure from investors and society that is driving the change. People will now look at companies from a "do we have the right people on the board?" perspective on climate change. How can governments and businesses in Australia and Japan balance dichotomic ideas between making a profit and securing an environment in which to live?

Session 8 - Working Cross-Culturally

12:00 - 12:45 (JST) / 2:00 - 2:45 (AEDT)

Working effectively across different cultures is core to the success of any international partnership and the Australia-Japan relationship is no exception. In this session, Jason Hayes will share his wealth of experience working cross-culturally, providing key insights into the characteristics of Australian and Japanese working cultures, highlighting the value of cross-cultural understanding, and the criticality of productive bilateral collaborations.

Session 9 - Diversity and Inclusion Workshop (presented by Value Learning)

12:45 PM - 13:45 PM (JST) / 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM (AEDT)

This session will enable delegates to explore what diversity, equity and inclusion means when working in the multicultural teams of the AJYD and in other areas of their work and community life.

The outcomes for the session are to:

  • Build shared understanding of the key concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Increase awareness of diverse cultural identities and the value of belonging
  • Explore strategies and opportunities to improve inclusion in their teams.

The workshop will be highly interactive, delegates will engage in small group discussions and hear some of the key business drivers for DEI in the workplace.

Session 10 - Space for Everybody: Australia-Japan Space Cooperation

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (JST) / 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (AEDT)

2021 could be the year of the space industry. Rather than retrenching from headwinds from COVID-19, the industry made tremendous progress - successfully completing historic missions to Mars and the first commercial human spaceflight. The pandemic has increased awareness about space technologies as critical enablers for our everyday activities, and as solutions to urgent problems like climate change.

For both Australia and Japan, space holds significant strategic importance. Our societies are heavily dependent on space, whether it be for our everyday lives (e.g. weather forecasting, communications, navigation), for developing scientific knowledge (e.g. space science, space exploration) or for national security (e.g. surveillance). Both nations began space activities in the mid-1950’s but only in 2020 did the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the recently-established Australian Space Agency sign a Memorandum of Cooperation, signalling their intent for increased bilateral space cooperation in the future.

Nevertheless, several Australia-Japan space collaborations have been successfully conducted since the 1990s. Some of the more recent collaborations include the Hayabusa and Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample return capsule re-entry missions in 2010 and 2020 respectively, and the launch of two Australian satellites through a leading Japanese space startup's small satellite deployment service in 2021. Looking ahead, what are the notable strengths of each country, their complementary capabilities and potential challenges for future collaborative opportunities?

Sunday 28 November 2021

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Session 14 - A fascinating person in the Australia-Japan Relationship

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM (JST) / 5:15 PM - 6:00 PM (AEDT)

Over the years, sports diplomacy has been a valuable avenue through which to strengthen Australia-Japan relations. Whether it be through the Olympics, Paralympics, rugby union, football, baseball, or even Australian Rules Football, sport is a powerful medium through which to strengthen people-to-people connections and business ties between countries. In this session featuring a fascinating person in the Australia-Japan relationship, Ian Williams will share his deep knowledge of the bilateral relationship which extends across both sport and business, his learnings along the way and thoughts on the future of relations between the two countries.