Western Australia and Japan have a longstanding economic relationship, based on Japan’s demand for raw materials and Western Australia’s capacity to supply those raw materials.
Western Australia has been supplying iron ore to Japan’s steel industry for more than 50 years and LNG to Japan’s energy companies for more than 25 years.
Trade with Japan supported the development of Western Australia’s iron ore and oil and gas industries. This trade relationship with Japan turned the focus of Western Australia’s exports from Europe and America to Asia.
Japan was Western Australia’s largest export market from the 1960s, until China took over in 2006-07. Japan remains the State’s second-largest export destination. In 2017-18, Japan accounted for 15 per cent of the State’s exports. Petroleum and iron ore accounted for 93 per cent of Western Australia’s exports to Japan.
Japan accounted for 10 per cent of the Western Australia’s imports in 2017-18. Western Australia buys semi-processed and finished goods from Japan, most notably passenger and commercial vehicles. Western Australia’s largest import from Japan in 2017-18 was gold, with most of this gold likely to be refined in Western Australia before being re‑exported.
The Western Australian Government has a long-standing sister state relationship with Hyogo Prefecture and has maintained an office in the prefecture capital, Kobe, since 1989.
The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) supports Western Australia’s trade offices in Tokyo and Kobe.