Japan-New Zealand Relations

July 14, 2015

As partners in the Asia-Pacific region who share fundamental values including democracy and a market economy, Japan and New Zealand have maintained good relations for many years. In particular, in 2013, the foreign ministers of Japan and New Zealand issued a joint statement on a strategic cooperative partnership, laying the foundations for further strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

In July 2014, Prime Minister Abe paid a visit to New Zealand, the first visit to the country by a Japanese prime minister in 12 years. The two leaders issued a joint press release on enhancing cooperation between the two countries, in which they confirmed that Japan would strengthen its bilateral cooperation with New Zealand, its strategic cooperative partner in the Asia-Pacific region, in areas including the economy, security and defense cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges, as well as cooperating on issues involving the region and the international community as a whole.

History of Japan-New Zealand Exchange

Year Name
1928 Provisional Arrangement between Japan and New Zealand Concerning Commerce, Customs and Navigation (the first treaty signed by New Zealand since becoming a self-governing dominion).
1938 Japanese consulate established in Wellington.
1952 New Zealand legation established in Tokyo.
1953 Japanese legation established in New Zealand.
1955 Visit to Japan by Prime Minister Sidney Holland (the first by a New Zealand premier).
1957 Visit to New Zealand by Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi (the first by a Japanese premier).
1958 Agreement on Commerce between Japan and New Zealand.
1963 Convention between Japan and New Zealand for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.
1967 Japanese consulate established in Auckland.
1970 Arrangement between the Government of Japan and the Government of New Zealand Concerning Reciprocal Waiving of Passport Visas and Passport Visa Fees.
1971 Japanese consular office in Auckland upgraded to consulate-general status.
1978 Agreement on Fisheries between the Government of Japan and the Government of New Zealand.
1980 Agreement between Japan and New Zealand for Air Services.
1985 Agreement between Japan and New Zealand for Working Holidays.

VIP Visits

Visits to Japan from New Zealand
Year Name
1955 Prime Minister Sidney Holland
1959 Prime Minister Walter Nash
1960 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake
1965 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake
1968 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake
1970 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake
1976 Prime Minister Robert Muldoon
1981 Prime Minister Robert Muldoon
1990 Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer
1993 Prime Minister James Bolger
1995 Prime Minister James Bolger
1996 Prime Minister James Bolger
1998 Prime Minister Jenny Shipley
1999 Prime Minister Jenny Shipley
2001 Prime Minister Helen Clark
2005 Prime Minister Helen Clark
2008 Prime Minister Helen Clark
2009 Prime Minister John Key
2010 Prime Minister John Key
2011 Prime Minister John Key
2012 Prime Minister John Key
Visits to New Zealand from Japan
Year Name
1957 Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi
1963 Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda
1967 Prime Minister Eisaku Sato
1971 Prince and Princess Mikasa
1973 The Crown Prince and Princess (the current Emperor and Empress)
1974 Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka
1980 Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira
1980 Prince Akishino
1982 Prince Katsura
1985 Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone
1993 Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa
1997 Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
2002 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
2002 The Crown Prince and Princess
2006 The crown Prince and Princess
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Bilateral Meetings

Japan and New Zealand hold consultations as required through ministerial-level visits and other contacts. They also conduct a variety of government-level forums, including foreign ministry consultations and economic consultations at senior official level.

Economic Relations

(1) Trade

In the area of trade, Japan is New Zealand's fourth largest trading partner after China,Australia, and the United States.

(A) Japan's Exports to New Zealand
Total exports in 2014: NZ$ 3,416 million
Principal export items:
Motor Vehicles NZ$ 1,566 million
Trucks and vans NZ$ 349 million
Petroleum oils, not crude NZ$ 271 million
Bulldozers, graders, etc. NZ$ 202 million
Motor-vehicle Parts and Accessories NZ$ 48 million
(B) Japan's Imports from New Zealand
Total imports in 2014: NZ$ 2,938 million
Principal import items
Aluminium NZ$ 508 million
Cheese NZ$ 315 million
Fresh fruit NZ$ 241 million
Fibreboard NZ$ 133 million
Casein NZ$ 126 million

(2) Investment

Japanese direct investment in New Zealand has reached a cumulative total of NZ$2.96 billion (as of 2013).

(3) Tourism

The number of Japanese visiting New Zealand was 81,136 in 2014. Meanwhile, 41,622 New Zealanders visited Japan in 2012.

Number of Nationals Resident in Each Country

Japanese residents (long term residents (more than three months) and permanent residents) in New Zealand: 16,705 (as of October 1, 2014) New Zealand residents in Japan: 3,109 (as of December 31, 2012)

Educational and Cultural Exchange, etc.

(1) Japan-New Zealand Cultural Exchange

The main channels for cultural and sporting exchange between Japan and New Zealand are the Japan Foundation, local governments and the private sector. Each year a variety of events are staged in New Zealand to introduce Japanese culture.

(2) The JET Program

The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is a joint project run by the Japanese Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs and Telecommunications, and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and local government bodies. Its purpose is to bring young people from other countries to Japan to work as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT), Coordinators for International Relations (CIR) and in other capacities. A little less than 3,000 New Zealanders have so far participated in the program as ALTs or CIRs since the beginning of the Program in 1987. The JET program has made an important contribution to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and New Zealand in grassroots level.

(3) Japanese Language Teaching in New Zealand

In both New Zealand and Australia, Japanese is taught extensively at the secondary and tertiary levels of education. Approximately 30,000 people in New Zealand are studying Japanese, which is now one of the most popular foreign languages learned. Japan Foundation activities in this area include the dispatch of Japanese teaching experts, study programs in Japan for New Zealanders working as Japanese teachers, the donation of teaching materials, and Japanese proficiency testing.

(4) Japanese Students Studying in New Zealand

The number of Japanese students studying in New Zealand, including short-term (less than three months) visitors attending language courses, is 10,459 in 2014. As a provider of foreign students, Japan ranks third place behind China and South Korea.

(5) Sister Cities

The first sister-city relationship between the cities of Japan and New Zealand was formed between Christchurch and Kurashiki in 1973. Exchange activities at the regional city level have expanded considerably since that time, and at present there are 43 sister city relationships between Japan and New Zealand.

(6) The Asia Newzealand Foundation

The Asia Newzealand Foundation, succeeding the Asia 2000 Foundation originally established under the auspex of the New Zealand government in 1994, undertakes a variety of activities designed to inform New Zealanders about Asia and promote the acquisition of skills needed to foster mutual understanding and closer relations. Activities relating to Japan include the provision of subsidies to enable New Zealand business people in Japan to learn Japanese and financial assistance for research in New Zealand by Japanese scholars.

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