Continuing to grow the fruit of friendship: new Japanese Ambassador visits Cowra

The new Ambassador of Japan to Australia has recognised the significance of Cowra to the relationship of the two nations, visiting before he was officially appointed to the role on Monday.

His excellency Shingo Yamagami and his wife Kaoru Yamagami joined Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, Cr Judi Smith and other dignitaries in visiting the Japanese War Cemetery, POW Camp and Japanese Garden.

Mr Yamagami said the visit was an opportunity to reinforce the great relationship between the two nations.

"I'm deeply touched by the sacrifices made by all those who lost their precious lives at the time of the Breakout," he said.

"But I'm also touched by the efforts of Mayor West and the Cowra people who did their best to preserve this cemetery in such a good condition.

"I'm really glad I could make a trip here, I have long wanted to come here, and it was out of my deep respect to all those who lost their lives, whether Australian or Japanese."

Mr Yamagami said the steps undertaken by the Cowra people had helped develop the understanding shared between the countries.

"Remembering what took place during war time and where we are now with the current state of affairs between Australia and Japan, I think how far we have come," he said.

"I think the dedication, commitment and sacrifices have grown to bear this great fruit of friendship and mutual understanding between Australians and Japanese.

"Looking at the current relationship, there is this element of mutual trust, we now understand each other far better than before.

"One previous Ambassador called Cowra the spiritual home of Australian and Japanese relations, I do fully agree with that statement, we started from here."

Cr Bill West said it was always fantastic to have the Ambassador of Japan to Austraila visiting the town.

"We've always had a very close relationship with the Ambassadors, council and the community, we're very keen and supportive of the Cowra-Japan relationship," he said.

"I see very positive signs with that relationship continuing to grow and that's evidenced by the fact Mr Yamagami and his wife have chosen to have a visit to Cowra even before he has officially become the Ambassador to Australia.

"That's a clear indication of his support and understanding of the historical significance of that relationship and the Cowra community appreciates it."

Mr West said he hoped this week's visit was the first of many undertaken by the Ambassador and his wife.

"I look forward to welcoming him back on many occasions and having the opportunity to visit the embassy," he said.

"I have no doubt he will engage with the Cowra community, his background and his visit would clearly indicate the importance of not only the Cowra, but the Australian and Japan relationship.

"It really indicates not just the Ambassador's thoughts about the importance of Cowra and the role we play, but also the significant role the Cowra story plays within the relationship with Japan."