Modern day friendship
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.