The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP - travel report - Japan, 8-11 October 2017

Minister The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP
Portfolio Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy
Minister for Small Business
Countries visited Japan
Date of travel 8 – 11 October 2017
No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
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 Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares (including taxes and fees) $13,521*
Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $2,011*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $1,628*
Travel cost for minister and staff $17,160*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel 

The purpose of my visit was to represent the Victorian Government at the 55th Annual Japan Australia Joint Business Conference in Tokyo. The conference provided an opportunity to meet with significant Japanese investors in Victoria and build relationships with prospective investors considering investments in Victoria. 

The Joint Business Conference is run by the Japan Australia Business Co-operation Committee (JABCC). The JABCC is the most influential organisation for promoting business opportunities and strengthening ties between Australia and Japan. The JABCC members are all C-level executives, and the conference provided an opportunity to leverage the goodwill developed by Melbourne's hosting of the 2016 annual Joint Business Conference. 

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

Over the course of the visit, I participated in 10 meetings and events with Japanese investors and Government officials.

Official JABCC Conference Events

I participated in several official conference events while representing the Victorian Government. I attended the opening ceremony and the official conference luncheon and dinner. These events bring together all the conference participants and provided me an opportunity to engage with many significant Japanese companies with business interests in Victoria and Australian businesses with an interest in Japan.

I took this opportunity to build relationships with these stakeholders, promoting opportunities for Japanese companies considering investing or reinvesting in Victoria.

Meetings with significant existing and prospective Japanese investors

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) - Japan is a potential key partner for Victoria in the Japanese Government's desire to develop new sources of reliable low emission energy. KHI is one of the world's leading industrial companies and is undertaking research and development into developing a global hydrogen supply chain to meet Japan's energy needs and support its efforts to mitigate climate change.

For a number of years KHI has been exploring opportunities for the production of low emission hydrogen for export to Japan from Victorian brown coal. In 2016 the Victorian Government and Commonwealth supported an engineering study into the development of a pilot hydrogen supply chain project in Victoria. My meeting with senior executives of KHI provided an opportunity for the company to discuss the results of this engineering study and a possible significant investment in Victoria to demonstrate a hydrogen production for export to Japan.

Toyota – Toyota has been a significant longstanding investor and employer in Victoria. Subsequent to the end of automotive manufacture in Victoria, Toyota intends to retain a significant presence with its Australian headquarters and research and development facilities in Victoria retaining approximately 1300 employees.

My meeting with senior representatives of Toyota provided me the opportunity to reiterate the Victorian Government's longstanding partnership with the company and discuss efforts that the company has made to support the transition of automotive workers and affected communities. I was pleased to learn of Toyota's establishment of an alumni network to provide ongoing support for their workers in years to come.

Toyota has also committed to transforming its Altona facilities into a centre of excellence. This meeting also provided the opportunity to explore areas for Toyota to undertake further investment in the state as they develop capabilities and undertake research and development areas such as autonomous transport and electric vehicle development. This meeting provided an ideal opportunity to express the Victorian Government's willingness to work with Toyota on these exciting initiatives.

Electric Power Development Co. Ltd (J-Power) – J-Power is one of Japan's largest power generators and operates the largest portfolio of renewable energy assets in Japan. J-Power has partnered with KHI in exploring the opportunity for the production of low emission hydrogen from Victorian brown coal.

This meeting provided me the opportunity to learn about the significant capabilities of the company in the areas of coal gasification, low emission power production and carbon capture technology. I explored potential investment opportunities for J-Power in the Latrobe Valley in the production of hydrogen. Hydrogen production in the Latrobe Valley has the potential to create significant employment and trade opportunities for the State.

Sega Games – Sega Games is one of Japan's largest games developers. My meeting with Sega's amusement park division provided me the opportunity to promote Victoria's digital games capabilities and ecosystem. Victoria is home to approximately half of Australia's games industry. Sega have a partnership with the Victorian developer, Zero Latency and have established a large scale virtual reality experience at Sega's Tokyo amusement park, Joyopolis using software developed in Melbourne. My meeting sought to encourage further partnerships with Victorian based games developers.

Meetings with Government stakeholders

Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs – The Japanese and Victorian Governments have a close relationship which has provided the foundation of significant investments in Victoria. My meeting with the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs provided me the opportunity to discuss business/investment opportunities in Victoria for Japanese companies in the areas of energy, automotive research and design and digital industries (in particular cyber-security). I also explored opportunities for further collaboration with the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). The President of AMED recently visited Victoria seeking to promote investment opportunities between Japan and Victoria in health, medical research and medical technologies.

Consul General of Japan in Melbourne – A meeting with the Consul General of Japan (Melbourne) provided me the opportunity to strengthen the relationship with representatives of the Japanese Government in Victoria. The Consul General's office is active in providing support for Japanese companies seeking business and investment opportunities in Victoria. My meeting afforded the opportunity to progress discussions to support new investments from existing Japanese technology investors in Victoria, discuss upcoming business delegations seeking investment opportunities in Victoria, and encourage the attraction of Japanese business conferences to Victoria.

Australian Ambassador to Japan – The Victorian Government and Commonwealth often collaborate to identify and progress business and investment opportunities from Japan. My meeting with the Australian Ambassador to Japan offered me the opportunity to discuss key areas of collaboration for investment attraction between the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth in areas of energy, education and aviation. There are significant opportunities for Victorian companies to progress business opportunities in these sectors with Japanese companies.

Next Steps / Follow Up

With over 180 Japanese companies operating in Victoria and Japan being our third largest investor, my visit to Japan reaffirmed the significant opportunities for continued collaboration and partnership with Japanese companies and the Government of Japan to promote and facilitate continued investment.

My department continues to work closely with the Government of Japan and individual investors to progress various significant investments and business collaborations with new and existing investors in Victoria.

Page last updated: 16 January 2018