Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson today arrives in Tokyo for talks on the Australia-Japan relationship, and to deliver a keynote speech to business people from both countries.
The trip follows Dr Emerson's visit earlier this week to China, where he held trade talks with senior Ministers and addressed 2000 delegates to an international services trade fair.
In Tokyo, Dr Emerson will meet Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano for the third Australia-Japan Trade and Economic Ministerial Dialogue. He is also scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Koichira Gemba and Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano.
Dr Emerson said discussions would be broad-ranging, but he would make clear Australia's strong desire to conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan.
Dr Emerson will also brief Japanese Ministers on progress with the Gillard Government's Asian Century White Paper.
Japan is Australia's second-largest trading partner. It is also Australia's third-largest source of foreign investment.
"Australia and Japan have enjoyed strong commercial, political and cultural ties for more than half a century," Dr Emerson said.
"The shift in global economic power to Asia over recent years and the pace and scale of change in the region make Australia and Japan more important to each other today than they have ever been.
"The Australian Government is committed to further strengthening the relationship," he said.
Dr Emerson will deliver a speech at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce to mark the 50th anniversary of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and its Japanese partner committee.
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