Mod­ern day friend­ship

NT News - - OPINION -

HIS­TORY will be made next week when Ja­panese leader Shinzo Abe vis­its Dar­win and stands along­side our Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son.

It will be the first visit by a Ja­panese leader to Dar­win. It comes 75 years af­ter Ja­pan’s im­pe­rial forces bombed Dar­win. While that fact will not be lost on Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter, his visit will be about ce­ment­ing mod­ern day re­la­tions. The of­fi­cial open­ing of the $47 bil­lion In­pex project re­flects that. It shows just how our strong our trade re­la­tion­ship now is. In­deed next week a sig­nif­i­cant agree­ment be­tween In­pex and the Lar­rakia Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple will be signed with ben­e­fits for 40 years to come.

In its peak con­struc­tion phase, there were more than 8000 work­ers on­site each day at the Ichthys LNG plant in Dar­win Har­bor. The vast ma­jor­ity were Aus­tralians, but many were Ja­panese ex­ec­u­tives and spe­cial­ists whose chil­dren have grown up and been schooled in Dar­win.

Last­ing friend­ships have been made and a greater twoway un­der­stand­ing of Ja­panese and Aus­tralian cul­ture forged.

Now at the high­est lev­els the hand of friend­ship is be­ing ex­tended in an area once never dreamt of — a strate­gic de­fence al­liance.

Closer mil­i­tary ties are ex­pected to be high on the agenda when Shinzo Abe meets with Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son. Ja­pan al­ready sends ob­servers to our joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with the US Ro­ta­tional Force Dar­win.

The Ter­ri­tory has em­braced Asia more than any other Aus­tralian ju­ris­dic­tion.

Ja­pan is as wel­come as all oth­ers we are en­gaged with.

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