Country Listing

Japan Table of Contents


Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands

Japan's economic involvement in Australia is heavily tilted toward extraction of natural resources and in-country manufacturing for the Australian domestic market. Japanese investment by 1988 made Australia the single largest source of Japanese regional imports. Japan's trade with New Zealand is a small fraction of its trade with Australia.

Politically, Japan's relations with Australia and New Zealand have elements of tension as well as acknowledged mutuality of interest. Memories of World War II linger among the public, as do a contemporary fear of Japanese economic domination. At the same time, government and business leaders see Japan as a vital export market and an essential element in Australia's and New Zealand's future growth and prosperity.

By 1990 commercial and strategic interests prompted a strong surge in Japanese involvement in the newly independent island nations of the Pacific. Japan's rapidly growing aid to the South Pacific was seen by many as a response to United States calls for greater burden-sharing and to the adoption of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, which gave states legal control over fishery resources within their 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones. The US$98.3 million that Japan provided in aid to the region in 1989 was fourth behind France, Australia and the United States but was significantly more than was provided by New Zealand and Britain. Japanese companies also invested heavily in the tourism industry in the island nations.

Data as of January 1994