【新連載】南半球便り <その1>シドニー訪問(令和3年1月27日)

南半球便り

<その1>
シドニー訪問(令和3年1月27日)

コーツ会長へのお土産贈呈
コーツ会長へのお土産贈呈

本記事の内容は、在オーストラリア日本国大使館ウェブサイトより転載。他の号は下記より確認可能。
Web: www.au.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/bilateral_official_visits_jp.html

1月21日から23日にかけてシドニーに出張してきました

 キャンベラのある首都地域(ACT)ではまず見かけないマスク姿が常態で、宿泊先のホテルに戻るたびにQRコードで身元登録を求められたことが印象的でした。

豪州側関係者

 まずハワード元首相を表敬し、意見交換。日本経済、インド太平洋情勢、米国との関係など、話題は多岐にわたりました。11年余にわたる長期政権を担われた大宰相でありながらも、若輩の大使相手に気さくに応じていただき、森羅万象につき縦横に、かつ、極めて明晰に分析されていたことに強く感じ入りました。

 旧知の豪州人の計らいで、豪州のビジネス関係者とも、突っ込んだ意見交換をしました。日本企業と連携・協力して新たなフロンティアを開拓していきたいとの強い意欲を感じました。

 夜は、紀谷(きや)在シドニー総領事の公邸で、コーツIOC東京2020調整委員長(豪州オリンピック委員会会長)ご夫妻と夕食を共にしつつ懇談。日本から持参した軽井沢彫のお土産を、ことのほか喜んでいただきました。

 さらに、大学、シンクタンク関係者とも忌憚のないやりとりをしてきました。豪中関係、バイデン政権のインド太平洋政策、日豪関係、日本の内政など、話題は実に広範に及び、2時間では足りないくらいでした。

在留邦人

 豪州の在留邦人が10万人を超える中、シドニー近郊には最大の約3万5千人の日本人がおられます。日本人会の石川会長(住友商事)、日本商工会議所の毛利会頭(日本製鉄)、日本クラブのコステロ会長から、在留の日本人の方のご活躍ぶりと、子弟の日本語教育問題など、取り組むべき課題についてじっくりとうかがいました。今後大使館として在留邦人の保護業務を進めていく上で大いに参考となりました。

 また、航空、銀行、商社、メーカー等、現地で日夜奮闘されている日本企業の方々にご挨拶し、豪州での活動ぶりについて説明を受けました。ビジネス環境整備等のために大使館としてお役に立てることがあれば、「筆頭商務官」である大使を含め、フットワーク良く対応したいと思います。

 シドニー駐在の日本のプレスの方々との会合も、大変貴重な機会でした。日豪関係の重要性についての認識を共有し、豪州での日本の存在感、日本での豪州での存在感を如何に高めていくかといった共通の問題意識について率直に意見を交換することができ、心強く感じました。

慰霊

 実は、コロナ禍の中で着任後間もなくシドニーを訪問することとした大きな理由の一つは、「慰霊」でした。新任大使として、第二次大戦中、日本海軍の特殊潜航艇によるシドニー湾攻撃で命を落とした豪州艇クッタバル関係者21名を追悼するとともに、特殊潜航艇乗組員6名の御霊を弔いたいと念じていました。豪州艦隊司令官のハモンド少将に迎えられ、二人そろってクッタバル記念碑と、基地内の歴史館に保存・陳列されている潜航艇の前でそれぞれ献花をしました。

(左)クッタバル記念碑での献、(右)潜航艇の前での献花
(左)クッタバル記念碑での献、(右)潜航艇の前での献花

 彼らの貴重な犠牲の上に、現在の平和と繁栄が築かれてきたことに思いをいたし、感謝の念を伝え、深く頭を垂れました。何よりも嬉しかったのは、クッタバル艇が沈没して落命した豪州人兵士だけでなく、今なお水底に眠る2名を含めた日本の軍人への配慮が随所に溢れていたことです。大人二人が入るにはとても狭すぎる特殊潜航艇の船内を案内しつつ、日本軍人のプロフェッショナリズムと勇敢ぶりをたたえる声を聞いたとき、英霊の献身があってこそ現在の日豪関係があると改めて強く認識しました。

 近年、日豪間の安全保障協力が進み、シドニー湾を初めとする豪州への海上自衛隊艦船の寄港が日常化し、共同訓練、共同巡航まで行われるに至った現状を見るにつけ、感慨ひとしおのものがあります。大使館としても、身を粉にしてさらに貢献していきたいと思います。

在オーストラリア日本国大使 山上信吾

やまがみしんご
東京大学法学部卒業後、1984年外務省入省。コロンビア大学大学院留学。茨城県警本部警務部長という異色の経歴を経て在英国日本国大使館公使、国際法局審議官、総合外交政策局審議官(政策企画・国際安全保障担当大使)、日本国際問題研究所所長代行を歴任後、17年国際情報統括官、18年経済局長。20年12月、在豪日本大使に着任。


News from under the Southern Cross

Edition 1
Visiting Sydney (2021/2/2)

Presenting a gift to Mr John Coates AC
Presenting a gift to Mr John Coates AC

From 21st to 23rd of January 2021, I made a business trip to Sydney. What caught my attention were the widespread use of masks, which is less common in the ACT, and the use of a QR code registration system each time I returned to the hotel where I was staying.

Meetings with notable Australians

First, I paid a courtesy call to former Australian prime minister John Howard OM AC. We discussed a wide range of topics including Japan’s economy, the state of affairs in the Indo-Pacific and U.S. relations. Despite being the second-longest serving prime minister of Australia at over 11 years, I found Mr Howard to be open and friendly, even towards a new Ambassador like me. I was deeply impressed by Mr Howard’s articulate analysis of a diverse range of topics.

I also had the opportunity to have in-depth discussions with Australian business leaders which were arranged with help from an Australian I knew through mutual contacts. I sensed a strong desire amongst Australian businesses to forge a new frontier by connecting and collaborating with Japanese companies.

In the evening, I joined the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 and President of the Australian Olympic Committee, Mr John Coates AC and his wife for dinner at the official residence of the Consul General in Sydney, Mr KIYA Masahiko. It was great to see Mr Coates particularly delighted with the gift my wife and I brought for him and his wife from Japan, a Karuizawa-bori wood carving.

In addition, I held candid discussions with university and think-tank representatives. We spoke at length about the relationship between Australia and China, U.S. President Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy, the Japan-Australia relationship, and Japanese domestic politics. The discussions covered a wide-range of topics and continued well over two hours.

Meeting with Japanese Nationals living in Australia

Over 100,000 Japanese nationals reside in Australia and approximately 35,000 of them live in the Sydney region. I met with Mr ISHIKAWA Yoshikazu, Chairman of the Japanese Society of Sydney (Sumitomo Australia), Mr MOHRI Tomomi, President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sydney (Nippon Steel Australia) and Ms Hisae Costello, President of the Japan Club of Sydney. I attentively listened to their explanations about the activities of Japanese nationals in Australia and the challenges that they face such as Japanese language education for children of Japanese expats. Their insights gave me good guidance for how the Embassy continues to provide support to the Japanese community.

Furthermore, I met with representatives from Japanese companies that are making great strides in Australia across the aviation, banking, trade and manufacturing industries to hear about their activities here. I will make utmost effort to make sure that the Embassy, including myself as “Principal Commercial Attache,” will speedily react when there are opportunities to be of assistance in enhancing the business environment.

The opportunity to meet with journalists from the Japanese press in Sydney was also a very valuable one. The exchange was very encouraging because we shared the common feeling about the importance of the Japan-Australia relationship, and had candid discussions on how to achieve the goal of increasing Japan’s presence in Australia and vice versa.

Visit to HMAS Kuttabul

One of the major reasons why I decided to visit Sydney so soon after my arrival in Australia and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was to pray for the souls of the war dead. As a newly arrived Ambassador, I wished to pay my respect to the sailors who lost their lives during the midget submarine attack on the depot ship Kuttabul in Sydney Harbour during World War II. I laid wreaths alongside Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, AM, RAN (Commander Australian Fleet, Royal Australian Navy) at the HMAS Kuttabul Memorial and the Midget Submarine Memorial, housed within the RAN Heritage Centre.

Laying a wreath at the HMAS Kuttabul Memorial (left) / Paying respects at the Midget Submarine Memorial (right)
Laying a wreath at the HMAS Kuttabul Memorial (left) / Paying respects at the Midget Submarine Memorial (right)

Reflecting upon the present peace and prosperity that has been built upon the extraordinary sacrifice they made, I expressed my gratitude to the souls of the deceased and bowed my head deeply before them. What was gratifying more than anything to see was that the Memorials’ considerate gesture in honouring not only the lives of those Australian officers who perished on the Kuttabul but also the Japanese sailors including two whose remains are yet to be retrieved. While observing the midget submarine, which is so small that it can hardly accommodate two adults, I heard Australians praise the professionalism and bravery of the Japanese sailors. This made me feel strongly that their sacrifice laid the grounds for greater mutual understanding and the Japan- Australia relationship as it stands.

In recent years, Japan-Australia security cooperation has been strengthened and friendly port calls by Japanese Maritime Defence Force vessels have become a normal sight in Australian ports such as Sydney Harbour. I feel deeply moved that our two navies have been able to reach this level of cooperation in which they conduct joint exercises and joint navigations. The Embassy of Japan will continue to put our fullest effort to towards contributing to our strong bilateral relationship.

YAMAGAMI Shingo – Ambassador of Japan to Australia

YAMAGAMI Shingo
Upon graduating from the University of Tokyo, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1984. He also studied at the Graduate School of Columbia University. His overseas assignment includes Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Geneva and London. After being seconded to the National Police Agency and the Japan Institute of International Affairs, he assumed the role of Director-General of the Intelligence and Analysis Service and then Director-General of the Economic Affairs Bureau. In December 2020, he was dispatched to Canberra as Ambassador to Australia.

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