A delegation of Australian political leaders visited Tokyo, Kobe, and Kyoto on February 28–March 6, 2009, to exchange views on the future of Australia-Japan relations and to discuss opportunities for cooperation on common challenges such as the global financial crisis and regional security. The six-member delegation, led by Senator Louise Pratt, engaged in discussions in Tokyo with political figures such as Hon. Yohei Kono, Speaker of the House of Representatives (LDP) and Hon. Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The delegation participated in meetings with 16 Diet members from Japan’s three major political parties and met with ministry officials, Japanese business executives, and representatives from Japan’s leading research institutions. The Japanese government’s strategy to address the financial crisis was a major topic of discussion as well as sociopolitical developments in Japan such as the upcoming elections. Energy and environment issues such as climate change and regional security issues of shared concern between Japan and Australia also featured prominently in the discussions.
After Tokyo, the delegation traveled to Kobe and Kyoto, where they met with members of the Hyogo Prefecture government and visited the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution to participate in discussions on natural disaster preparedness.