Some commentators have suggested that Australia is ignoring Japan due to the rise of China as Australia’s number one trading partner and the growing importance that is attached to this relationship.
Japanese and Australian relations have widely been considered as friendly, stable and largely driven by common goals and interests. Japan was at one stage Australia’s largest trading partner and in recent times strong economic links, defence, scientific cooperation and tourism have all helped to strengthen the relationship. There has previously been slight tension in the link between the two nations due to actions during World War 2, and the issue with whaling. However, the general consensus is that both governments see each other as necessary export markets and a critical component in the upcoming development and prosperity in the Asia-pacific region. The Asia-pacific region is also gaining prosperity through the relationship between China and Australia. China has an insatiable hunger for economic development and Australia has taken advantage of this by exporting energy and minerals gathered through its mining boom. Due to this China overtook Japan as Australia’s leading trade partner in 2007, this fact coupled with low levels of economic growth in Japan has resulted in a media shift towards future prospects between Australia and China. This media shift has led to the idea that Australia is ignoring or has a diminished relationship with Japan. This essay will try to dispel that thought by providing an understanding of the current economic, multilateral and defence relationships between Australia and Japan. In addition it will look at the relationship between Australia and China and the possible reasons why this thought has come about. Perceptions that Japans importance to Australia is diminishing are seen by some as widely displaced, specifically when it comes to the economy and trade. While China has taken over as Australia’s largest trading partner overall,...
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