Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to Japan

Media release

Brisbane

7 April 2011

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd has today announced that Mr Bruce Miller will be Australia's new Ambassador to Japan.

Mr Miller is expected to take up his appointment in July 2011 and replaces Mr Murray McLean OAM who has been Ambassador since November 2004.

He will take up his position at a time when Japan will be working hard on the enormous rebuilding task following the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami. The Australian Government responded swiftly following the disaster, providing a search and rescue team, $10 million to the Red Cross Japan and the Pacific Disaster Appeal, and a C-17 transport aircraft to assist with the relief and recovery. Australian expertise and assistance remain on offer, as Japan now manages the longer-term impacts.

Australia and Japan have a long history of cooperation in regional and multilateral affairs, including in the creation of APEC and the expansion of the East Asia Summit. Most recently, Australia and Japan have led the creation of a new Ministerial cross-regional group to develop practical measures for advancing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament goals.

The last several years have seen a dramatic expansion of co-operation in security and defence, both bilaterally and on a trilateral basis along with the United States – including the signing in May 2010 of an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement.

Japan is Australia's second-largest export market and trading partner, with two-way merchandise and services trade worth $58.9 billion in 2009-10. Both nations are also working actively to complete a high-quality and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. People-to-people links are also strong and vibrant, and are supported by 101 sister-city relationships, 658 sister-school relationships, and 16 Australia-Japan societies in Australia and 47 Japan-Australia societies in Japan.

Mr Miller is currently Deputy Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (ONA). Prior to his appointment with ONA, Mr Miller was a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was Minister (Political) at the Australian Embassy, Japan from August 2004-2009. Mr Miller was also posted to Tokyo as First Secretary, later Counsellor (1992-96) and previously also served in Iran. Mr Miller was also seconded to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1997-1998. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws, both from the University of Sydney. He speaks Japanese.

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