Today I will meet with the Japanese Finance Minister, Kaoru Yosano, and Bank of Japan Governor, Masaaki Shirakawa in Tokyo, to discuss the impact of the global recession on the Asian region, including Japan and Australia, and the importance of a global response through the G-20.
I will also be meeting with key figures in financial markets in Tokyo to promote the underlying strengths of the Australian economy, before attending the G-20 Leaders' Summit in London with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The world economy is facing its most difficult times in living memory, with the IMF now forecasting the global economy to contract by as much as 1 per cent in 2009.
The global recession is hitting every economy in the world, including the Japanese economy which contracted by 3.2 per cent in the last three months of 2008.
In the face of these major global challenges, it is critical that we engage with our regional partners to ensure a global response.
We will also discuss the importance of the bilateral relationship in particular during these difficult global times.
Japan is a key economic, political and strategic partner to Australia. Japan is Australia's largest export market and second largest trading partner.
I will deliver a major speech on the importance of the Australia-Japan bilateral relationship, the stability and strength of the Australian economy and financial markets, and Australia's priorities for the forthcoming G-20 Leaders' Summit.
I will also meet with key financial market leaders to promote Australia as a first-class place to do business and invest, and take the opportunity to hear first-hand the views of finance sector executives and investors on local and international financial market conditions.
I am pleased to be the first Australian Treasurer to make a bilateral visit to Japan since 1995.
30 March 2009