The Hon Martin Pakula MP - travel report - Japan, 6 - 14 October 2019

Minister The Hon Martin Pakula MP

Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events
Minister for Racing

Countries visited Japan
Date of travel 6 October to 14 October 2019 (inclusive)
No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
9 days
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Air fares (including taxes and fees) $13,452*
Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $12,937*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $9,303*
Travel cost for minister and staff $35,692*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The main purpose of my travel to Japan was to attend the 57th joint business conference with the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee (AJBCC) and the Japan Australia Business Cooperation Committee (JABCC) in Osaka.

As part of my visit, I undertook meetings with Nippon Paint, Japan Post, Mitsui & Co., Kawasaki Heavy Industries, JVC Kenwood, Asahi Group Holdings and Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development, to showcase Victoria’s investment opportunities to Japanese companies and promote Victoria as an investment destination.

I provided leadership to two separate trade missions focusing on sports technology and biotechnology and also attended the Japan Sports Tech Conference and BioJapan 2019.

I attended the Rugby World Cup and Suzuka F1 Grand Prix, where I met with senior executives from both sporting sectors. I was able to promote Victoria's world-class event infrastructure and service delivery capabilities. This supports the Victorian Government’s strategic priority to attract major events to Melbourne and drive visitation to the state.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

The engagements undertaken throughout my program allowed me to establish new connections in-market and build on already established partnerships. It also allowed me to promote doing business with Victoria. My official travel further aided Victoria’s long history of engagement with Japan, which is also supported by the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Tokyo, Victoria’s long-term sister-state relationship with the Aichi prefecture, and a sister-city partnership between Melbourne and Osaka since 1978.

Japan is Victoria’s third largest source of foreign direct investment and there are approximately 190 Japanese companies with representative offices located in the state. Japan is also Victoria’s third largest two-way trading partner and fourth most valuable export market, with Victorian goods exports to Japan valued at A$2.3 billion in 2018-19.

The AJBCC and JABCC joint business conference, attended by more than 350 leaders from industry and government from Japan and Australia, was themed ‘New Partnership for the Future’. The conference provided an invaluable platform to discuss issues facing the global political and economic environment and opportunities for collaboration in areas including trade, infrastructure, energy and innovation.

I met with senior leaders from Japanese industry to further support and demonstrate Victorian investment opportunities and strengthen the Japan-Victoria relationship.

Victoria is home to approximately 65 per cent of all Australian sportstech companies, including the headquarters of the Australian Sports Technologies Network. Sports technology is a growing Australian export valued at around $500 million in 2018, with around two-thirds generated by Victorian businesses.

I provided leadership to a sports technology Victorian delegation and gave the opening address at the Japan Sports Tech Conference, which is the major sports technology event in Japan and internationally. I highlighted Victoria’s high-calibre capabilities in sports tech and innovations as well as the importance of the sector to the state. In addition to the conference, I met with seven Victorian organisations (NETFIT Netball, Catapult, Vumero, SPT, NBL, DMC and Vald Performance) and discussed how the government can continue to support this sector in international markets.

Japan is a key market for Victorian companies to partner in drug discovery, clinical trials and regenerative medicine. Japan has the third largest pharmaceutical products market in the world, after the USA and China. Victoria is Australia’s epicentre for world leading medical research, supported by 16 major medical research institutes, 11 teaching hospitals and nine universities. The sector employs more than 31,000 people and contributes over A$1.7 billion in exports to the Victorian economy.

During the trip I visited the Australian booth at BioJapan where I met and engaged with the Victorian companies in attendance (MPT Connect, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, 360 Biolabs, Star Pharma, Nucleus Network and CSIRO/Deakin University). BioJapan is Asia’s premier partnering event for the global biotechnology industry. This year’s conference had 974 exhibitors from 26 countries and attracted approximately 17,512 visitors. I also attended the BioJapan networking event where I met with Japanese bioindustry stakeholders including the Chairman of Japan Bioindustry Association, the Executive Director of Japan Bioindustry Association and the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Chugai Pharmaceutical and continued to promote Victoria as a world leading life science hub.

I undertook meetings with key stakeholders such as Nippon Paint, Japan Post, Mitsui, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, JVC Kenwood, Asahi Group Holdings and Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development, to strengthen relationships and promote Victoria as an investment destination.

Major events are a key part of Victoria’s economy, generating more than $1.8 billion each year and bringing visitors from across Australia and around the world to Victoria. Attracting high-profile sporting events will also provide an opportunity to continue to grow tourism from not only Japan but around the world.

My attendance at the Rugby World Cup (RWC) and Suzuka F1 Grand Prix allowed me to promote Victoria’s brand as a major sporting capital and international reputation for hosting major events. The RWC is the third largest sporting event in the world behind the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. Meeting with RWC executives gave me the opportunity to further understand and observe the role of a host city which will inform future major event bids.

While attending the Suzuka F1 Grand Prix, I met with the Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One Group where we discussed F1’s future vision for the sport and the 25th anniversary in 2020 of Melbourne as a Grand Prix city.

Next Steps / Follow Up

Ongoing investment and project discussions by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) and the Tokyo VGTI are taking place with all stakeholders and companies visited, to maximise opportunities and outcomes created by my official travel.

Page last updated: 20 January 2020