Rio Tinto chair of Australia-Japan Studies to be established at the University of Tokyo

riotinto1A Rio Tinto Chair of Australia-Japan Studies will be established at the University of Tokyo, strengthening ties and increasing understanding between Australia and Japan.

The new role, to be funded by Rio Tinto for an initial three-year period, is a collaboration between the Australia-Japan Foundation and the University of Tokyo.

The Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe witnessed the signing of a Statement of Intent to establish the role at a ceremony in Perth last night.

Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh and Australia-Japan Foundation chair Murray McLean signed the Statement of Intent during the visit to Australia by the Japanese Prime Minister.

Mr Walsh said “I firmly believe that education is the pathway forward to strengthen the bonds of friendship and the levels of knowledge of both Australia and Japan. This new position will generate greater cooperation and understanding between our two countries.

“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of the Australia-Japan Foundation and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the University of Tokyo to bring this role to life for the benefit of both countries.”

The Chair will be located at the University of Tokyo and help:
• raise the profile and understanding of Australia in Japan
• expand the scope and quality of Australia-Japan studies programs
• promote academic and research links between Australian and Japanese universities and develop Australia-Japan institutional and knowledge-based relations in the 21st century.

The role, to be known as the ‘Rio Tinto Chair of Australia-Japan Studies at the University of Tokyo’, will commence next year.

Notes to editors:

About Australia-Japan Foundation
The Australia-Japan Foundation was established by the Australian Government in 1976 to expand and develop contact and exchange between the peoples of Australia and Japan and to help project positive images of Australia and Japan in each other’s country. Further information regarding the AJF can be found at 

About University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo was established in 1877 as the first national university in Japan. As a leading research university, UTokyo offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels and conducts research across the full spectrum of academic activity. The university aims to provide its students with a rich and varied academic environment that ensures opportunities for both intellectual development and the acquisition of professional knowledge and skills.