Japanese goodwill visit to Melbourne

Members of the Pacific economic inspection tour party from Japan yesterday afternoon paid unofficial calls upon the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and the Premier of Victoria. On each visit they were accompanied by the honorary Consul for Japan, Mr. D. York Syme. The Lord Mayor, Cr. Wales, received the visitors in his private rooms at the Town Hall and friendly greetings were exchanged.

From the Town Hall the Japanese party went to the State Government offices and were introduced to the Premier by their leader, Dr. K. Abe. The spokesman for the party, Mr. K. Sato, after explaining that the main purpose of the mission to Australia was to promote happy trade and general relationships between the two countries, said members of the party desired to learn all they could about Australia and her people, and to educate the people of Japan in the knowledge of Australia.

Soon after their return to Japan they would organise exhibitions of Australian primary and secondary products in Osaka and Tokio, and later they would arrange for larger exhibitions of Australian and New Zealand goods. They would be very gratified if the Premier would interest Australian manufacturers in these exhibitions, in order to ensure that the displays should be as representative as possible.

The newspaper company (Osaka “Mainichi”) with which he and Dr. Abe were associated intended to undertake a nation-wide campaign for the promotion of a better understanding between Japan and Australia. After their return home it would issue an Australian photographic supplement of from fifty to 100 pages, with an issue of about 5,000,000 copies, for circulation throughout the world.

The Premier (Mr. Dunstan) thanked the visitors for their courtesy in calling upon him, and expressed the hope that the cordial relations between Australia and Japan would long continue. Their visit, he was sure, would strengthen the ties of friendship that already existed. He appreciated the spirit which prompted the promotion of exhibitions of Australian goods in Japan and the printing of a special supplement, on such a large scale, to commemorate the visit to Australia.

Dr. K. Abe.


Display of Japanese Products

After their call upon the Premier the Japanese visitors went to see an exhibition of their own country’s manufactures in the showrooms of the Japan-Australasian Exhibitors’ Co. in Selby House, 318 Flinders-lane. This exhibition which is to be a permanent one, has been organised by Mr. W. R. Duncan, who recently came from Japan as representative of a number of manufacturers in Osaka, and of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce. The goods displayed cover a wide range, from small articles of toiletware to dentists’ chairs. At present the display is on view to businessmen but it will be officially opened for the public next week.

To-day Dr. Abe and Mr. Sato will return for a short visit to Sydney. Other members of the party will leave by aeroplane for Tasmania where they will spend several days visiting Launceston, Hobart and other parts of the island. They will return to Melbourne on 1st May, and leave on the same day for Adelaide.

Leading Japan’s Government

In responding yesterday to the Rotary Club’s welcome to members of the unofficial Japanese mission, Mr. K. Sato said Australia and Japan had been compelled in the march of events to recognise each the other’s value. The visit of Mr. J. G. Latham, when Attorney-General of Australia, was a kindly one and proved a great success. Japan was to-day “Australia-minded.” That was to say, Japanese were keenly interested in this country and its business, and somehow they felt that trade relations between the two countries were destined to grow, and that both would establish more direct contacts in friendships, which presupposed mutual understanding and sympathy. The (the Japanese) had discovered in themselves an utter ignorance of this great democratic country. That was one reason for the present visit. He was informed also that the Government of Japan had been stimulated by Mr. Latham’s mission. But efficient as was that Government, it lagged behind the people. They (members of the mission) did not let Governments guide them; they felt they were leading the Government and were proud to have come before the official mission from Japan.


Need for Mutual Understanding

In an address by radio from station 3L0 last evening, Mr. K. Sato, of the Japanese good-will delegation, said Australia was a new discovery to Japan and Japan was a new discovery to Australia. It was only within recent years that the peoples of both countries realised that an important relationship was developing between them. The people of Japan were surprised to realise that they were purchasing from Australia a large quantity of raw materials for their industries. Japan to-day was the second largest buyer of Australian wool, and also bought large quantities of wheat and other agricultural products from Australia. He was told that if Japan ceased to buy Australian wool and wheat the Australian market would be seriously affected. Similarly, if Australia ceased to buy Japanese manufactures Japan’s business people would be greatly embarrassed. In view of these conditions, friendship and mutual understanding between Japan and Australia were particularly desirable.

The people of Japan were a hard-working people, and wanted to co-operate in a friendly manner with other nations. Thousands of factories had been established in all parts of their Empire. Japan had a Government founded on constitutional lines, and although it had not approached the mature development reached by the British system of government, it was competent and efficient enough to handle the affairs of the nation at a time of great transition. Japan had a highly advanced system of transportation and communication and other facilities comparable with those of the greatest nations in the world. Her cities were being transformed from the Eastern to the Western types, as were the whole social and economic systems. One of the outstanding problems of Japan to-day was to adjust and harmonise the Eastern and Western systems. The centre of world culture was being transferred from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and mutual confidence and friendship amongst the nations of the Pacific were essential.

Dr. K. Abe [L] and Mr. K. Sato.

Dr. K. Abe [L] and Mr. K. Sato.Credit:The Age Archives

Mr. Sato, in conclusion, referred to the memories revived by Anzac day and to the strong bond of friendship which prevailed between the Commonwealth and Japan during the years of the Great War. That friendship had been maintained and he desired to thank the people of Australia for the hearty welcome and hospitality that had been extended to the Japanese delegation since its arrival in this country.

Japanese Squadron to Arrive on it Saturday

The Japanese naval training ships Asama and Yakumo are expected to tie up at Princes Pier, Port Melbourne, at 2.20 p.m. on Saturday. They will probably pass through the Heads between 9 and 10 a.m. Preparations for the reception of the visitors are practically complete, and the final details will be arranged on receipt of information from Adelaide, where the ships are at present. Gunfire from the garrison artillery at Queenscliff will greet the squadron as it enters the Heads, and another salute will be fired at Port Melbourne.


An exhibition of films showing earthquake devastation in Japan will be given by Japanese fleet officials at the Regent Theatre on Sunday afternoon in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Fund.

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