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225 Memorandum From Eckersley To Department Of External Affairs

10th July, 1957


Japan-Australia Trade Agreement-Press Reaction
1. In my telegram No.220 of 8th July I gave you an outline of the
Japanese press reactions to the Japan-Australia trade Agreement.

This reaction was more important than that given to any issue in
Japan-Australia relations in recent years. This fact must be
viewed against the background that publicity given to Australia
has been gradually increasing in the post-war years until a peak
was reached about the time of the Olympic Games, when the
publicity given was not only to the Games themselves but to things
Australian as a whole. A renewed impetus to publicity on Australia
was given by the Prime Minister's visit but nothing in recent
years has drawn such solid attention as the signing of the Trade
Agreement. All the leading Tokyo newspapers of the evening of 6th
July, gave their lead space to a write-up of the signing ceremony
in which most of them included the main provisions of the
Agreement. All of them headlined the mutual granting of most-
favoured-nation treatment or the mutual abolition of import
restrictions. (The granting of most-favoured-nation treatment to
Japan has, of course, political and psychological significance not
measurable, as in trade, in terms of money. The removal of
discrimination is the removal of a thorn which has troubled the
Japanese almost since the time when they first came into contact
with the West). Not only did the leading newspapers give the new
Trade Agreement their lead space, but most of them published
favourable editorials upon it in their Sunday editions.

[matter omitted]

10. The overall impression which one gains from the commentary
upon the Treaty is highly favourable, the outstanding feature
being the degree of unanimity in the editorial comment upon the
need for Japanese exporters to exercise restraint, which is, at
the same time, a tribute to the success of our Minister for
Trade's visit and the degree of understanding with press and trade
circles achieved by the Japanese Foreign Office. It is regrettable
that some commentators have seen in the re-orientation of our
trade policy signs of a complete re-appraisal of our situation,
but that was inevitable in the circumstances. It is also
regrettable, but perhaps inevitable, that some of those Japanese
who supported or connived at extremist policies in the thirties
which made it difficult for Commonwealth countries to grant
similar concessions at that time, should now be able to climb on
the band-wagon and attempt to claim some of the credit for the
agreement which has been reached.

[AA : A1838/280, 3103/10/2, v]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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