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How the relationship between Australia and Japan changed after WW2 Essay

During the WW2, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in America and this signaled their rapid advancement into the pacific. The arrival of the war in the shores of Australia was signaled by the Japanese air raids on Darwin in 1942, which were very devastating. The bombers and fighters from Japan laid a siege on the port twice on that day and killed many people (Gillespie 2008). The Japanese continued their merciless attacks on other ports and killed and injured many Australians. Later on, the Australian troops and those from the pacific allies were able to defeat Japan and reclaim some of the ceased islands.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki signified the end of WW2 and Japan surrendered (Gillespie 2008). Australia emerged confident as a nation after the end of WW2 and was more open to the world. It did not hold a grudge against Japan instead forged a very strong relationship with her, which has resulted into development of close ties economically, politically and socially (Gillespie 2008). How the relationship between Australia and Japan changed after WW2 The partnership between Japan and Australia is tremendously close and it is important both strategically and economically in the wide region of Asia- pacific (Brad and Newman 2006).

Japan is one of the largest partners that Australia has in terms of trade. The establishment of the Japan embassy took place in Australia in 1957. The agreement that was signed later on that year on commerce set a motion of a relationship in bilateral trade which has proved to the most successful in history (Australian government 2007). This agreement boosted the confidence of business and ensured the provision of political framework for the relationship that existed commercially between the two partners.

This immediately impacted in expanding the two-way trading between the two partners. Australia was the top most supplier of Japan in products like coal, concentrates of copper, hide and wool by 1960 and also took the second place in supplying wheat. Out of the total exports that Australia had in the market, a sixth of them were imported by Japan in 1961. This share shot to a quarter by 1971 and this made Japan to be the biggest merchandiser in Australian export market. This has not changed to date despite the stiff competition from China (Australia-Japan Foundation 2008).

An agreement that was signed regarding the agricultural products has seen the exports of wheat to Japan increasing tremendously over the years. Japan also exports beef and wool from Australia since agricultural activities take a lion share in the economy. The economic acceleration that was experienced in Japan in the 80’s benefited the Australian export market since energy and most natural resources were imported by Japan. Iron ore, alumina and bauxite were some of the natural resources that Japan imported from Australia to be used as raw materials in the several industries (Australia-Japan Foundation 2008).

Japan started making investments directly in the Australian market in the 80’s. These investments targeted finance through purchasing of stock and real estate. Japan took the third position between 2005 and 2006 as a large source of direct investment from foreign countries (Hobart 2007). The total stock held by Japan was approximately $ 24 billion which was invested in services, commerce, real estate and mining. The negotiation on launching bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA) commenced in 2007 aimed at increasing the trading between the two partners and protecting their markets.

This agreement was aimed at establishing an economic relationship that is bilateral between the two partners for the next 50 years. It coincided with the fiftieth anniversary since the commerce agreement was signed between the two partners back in 1957. The prime minister from Australia by the name Robert Menzies visited Japan in 1957 and later on in the same year, Nobusuke Kishi, who was the Japanese prime minister also visited Australia. This relationship has been strong to date since the current prime minister of Australia Howard visits Japan and holds meetings with the PM Junichiro Koizumi.

In 2005, Japan was holding the Exposition of Global Harmony and Australia participated in it (Chiyoda 2005). The decision by Howard to send troops back in 2005 to Iraq was duly respected and appreciated by Japan as the rest of the world criticized this move. Japan vowed to closely cooperate with Australia to ensure that reconstruction in Iraq was done within the shortest time possible (Chiyoda 2005). Howard has been in the forefront of championing for reforms within the United Nations and has supported the bid from Japan in wanting to become the UN Security Council permanent member.

The countries are hoping that their close relationship will ensure progression in other various fields within the international community and this will include security and counterterrorism. Both Japan and Australia expressed a similar interest in ensuring that the North Korea nuclear problem was peacefully resolved to avoid any military intervention (Chiyoda 2005). The White Australia Policy which was discriminatory was introduced by the British when they colonized Australia (Jolly 2003). This discriminatory Act targeted the Aboriginal people who were the indigenous inhabitants in Australia.

This act however, limited the number of immigrants from Europe and Asia. After the WW2, there was need for an increase in the labor force, since the population in Australia was way too small. The government slackened the rules and allowed people from Europe which had been ravaged by the war and Asia to migrate to Australia and provide the badly needed labor that would ensure growth in the country (Jolly 2003). This immigration helped Australia to grow into a strong capitalistic country and strengthened the economic ties between it and Japan.

The draconian policy which mitigated discrimination was dropped in 1967 and in 1972 it was scrapped off officially. In 1974, Japan and Australia signed a cultural agreement, which has led to the increase of contact between people (Jolly 2003). Young Australians made an effort and studied the Japanese culture and language and incorporated the insights that they learnt into careers. During numerous business meetings, the Japanese also had a lot of exchange with the Australians in terms of culture and language.

The universities in Japan adopted some of the courses from Australia and this has developed over years (Patience and Jacques 2002). This has made many Japanese students to pursue their post graduate studies in universities in Australia. This has helped the students in developing their careers and using most of the aspects in management of relations between the partners. Such knowledge has come in handy in areas such as tourism and trade where these graduates have used their expertise.

This gained knowledge from studying courses from Australia has been hailed for replacing some of the prejudices and myths that Japanese had conjured in their minds about Australians (Patience and Jacques 2002). This contribution by Australia in the study area has become a very powerful tool for diplomacy. The Australian National University’s Australia-Japan Research Centre is in existent to date and its main objective is to enhance understanding and forge a relationship between the two partners (Australian government 2007).

The government in Australia gave funds to the Australia-Japan Foundation whose main aim is bringing together representatives from the government and businesses in the high level annually. These representatives are drawn from the two countries. The government in Australia has also targeted the programs that are funded by Japan within the country. One such organization is the Japan Foundation whose main aim is to ensure that promotion of Japanese culture and language is wide spread in Australia.

There is a program known as Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) through which a large number of young people from Australia have been able to go to Japan as teachers and experience the country first hand. This has led to connections that are longstanding both professionally and personally (Australian government 2007). An initiative that is non-governmental is the exchange programs that are organized by clubs e. g. Rotary club enabling the young people to visit and stay for some time in both Australia and Japan (Australian government 2007). There was the concept of creating sister cities in the world after WW2.

The goal of this approach was to create an affiliation between the people and the cities which would go a long way in improving understanding and communication between the people. Conversely, polarization would be reduced and nations would not be at conflict with each other (Australia-Japan Foundation 2008). The association between these two cities would make prejudices and stereotypes less potent. Australia was where this concept developed from and they extended it to Japan in 1963. This relationship was formed between Yamatotakada in Japan and Lismore in Australia.

Many other sister cities were created from then up to date and this is responsible for the harmonious existence between the two countries (Australia-Japan Foundation 2008). Conclusion The relationship between Japan and Australia during the WW2 was icy and conflicting as they were both supporting different sides. Japan attacked Australia since it was allied to American in the pacific. However, after the end of the war, the two were able to overcome the barriers and forge such strong ties which have been beneficial to both countries economically, socially and politically.

The commercial agreement that was signed back in 1957 has been vital for the growth in the economies of both countries. The two governments have been fully involved in ensuring this relationship lasts through the use of culture and language. The negotiations on the FTA will protect the bilateral trading between the two countries and ensure protection in their markets. This close relationship between Australia and Japan shows that unity can be forged between any two countries no matter what their past is.


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