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48 Aide Memoire Presented By Nishi To Department Of External Affairs

14th January, 1954

Japanese Trade with Australia
The Australian Wheat Board indicated last October that 200,000
tons of wheat was available for Japan for the current season, but
in December last Japan declined to purchase, for lack of Sterling,
when arrangements for the first shipment of the wheat were about
to materialise.

In pre-war days Japan was a big buyer of Australian wool, wheat,
etc. In thepost-war period Japan again increased her purchases of
the same, and in July last Japan became the 'second best overseas
customer' of Australia. But during the trade year ended 30 June
last, the trade showed an abnormal unbalance of 82,942,000 in
Australia's exports as against 4,693,000 in her imports from

We much appreciate the following statement which Sir Arthur
Fadden, then Acting Prime Minister made on 3rd July, 1953, in
introducing relaxation of import restrictions:

'Japan has been deficit with the Sterling area as a whole, her
sterling reserves have fallen to a low level and there is a
distinct danger that she may be forced to restrict her overseas
buying even of raw materials, such as wool, and foodstuffs, such
as barley. It is notable that during 1952-53 Japan was Australia's
second best overseas customer. Therefore we have an important
interest in the continued overseas buying capacity of that

It is disappointing, however, to note in the trade statistics up
to October last published by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and
Statistics that no noticeable improvement in Australia's import
from Japan has taken place since the announcement of import
relaxation in July last, to wit:-

Unit: A'000 f.o.b.

Import from Japan Export to Japan

1952 Jan. 6,452 6,558
Feb. 3,366 6,263
Mar. 2,495 4,754
Apr. 3,240 3,766
May 1,133 3,696
Jun. 2,539 3,130
Jul. 899 4,978
Aug. 493 4,819
Sep. 547 3,855
Oct. 397 6,552
Nov. 1,044 7,932
Dec. 282 6,646
1953 Jan. 148 9,004
Feb. 221 6,497
Mar. 259 8,941
Apr. 90 7,516
May 155 9,570
Jun. 158 6,632
Jul. 236 4,476
Aug. 214 4,455
Sep. 435 2,686
Oct. 279 4,053
July 1952 - June 1953 4,693 82,942
Nov. 1952 - Oct. 1953 3,521 78,408
July 1953 - Oct. 1953 1,164 15,670

Japan has been a large importer of primary products, i.e. wool,
wheat, barley, etc., as she has to feed and clothe her vast
population. For example, Japan imported in 1952 nearly 1.7 million
tons of wheat from various sources, including 27,895 tons from
Australia and 950,000 tons of barley including 69,820 tons from
Australia. As a result of the failure of her rice crop last year
Japan is expected to increase considerably her import of staple

For lack of sterling, Japan has no choice but to make these food
imports largely from non-sterling areas. Japan's import of
Australian wool will also have to be cut drastically.

It is urgently requested that the Australian Government will see
to it, in the interests of both countries, that further import
relaxation on Japanese goods be effected as soon as possible so as
to enable Japan to continue to be a good customer for Australian

[AA : A4905, VOLUME 22]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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