Consul General of Japan Emperor’s birthday reception
Acting Consul-General; Chief Justice; Ministers; elected representatives; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
Kaye and I are delighted to join you all, once more, in celebrating the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor.
The Queensland-Japan relationship remains of the utmost importance.
There is a very substantial investment and services trade relationship.
These facts may sound dry and impersonal, but the impact of this economic relationship matters very much on a personal level.
This bilateral economic activity supports significant employment in many sectors, wealth creation, infrastructure development, knowledge-sharing and an extensive network of business and people-to-people relationships, in both Queensland and Japan.
When more than 200,000 Japanese visitors to Queensland annually, 5,300 Japanese students studying in our State, and Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to Australia are also taken into account, the full scale and scope of this thriving relationship become even clearer.
Also on a personal level, we Queenslanders, who are all too familiar with natural disasters, greatly admire the strength and resilience of the Japanese people in the face of a difficult year marked by earthquakes, floods, and typhoons.
We extend our best wishes to all affected communities as they rebuild and recover.
I thank all those, in both Queensland and Japan, who are dedicated to the success of this critical relationship.
I thank in particular the Acting Consul-General and his staff, not only for their hospitality this evening, but also for the exemplary way in which they represent their country in our State.
In a short while, I will have the honour of proposing a toast to His Majesty.
I will do so with admiration and affection, but also with sadness and understanding, for His Majesty will step down in 2019.
His Majesty has been a living symbol of constancy for the Japanese people as the world around them – around all of us – has changed with astonishing rapidity.
His Majesty is deeply respected, loved and admired.
I assure the Acting Consul-General of the very highest regard in which His Majesty is held in Queensland.
And, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I extend our very best wishes on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday, and for the future.