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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 2


Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (Leader of the Opposition) - I am pleased to support the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and to associate the Australian Labor

Party in this Parliament with the motion. Mr Ohira did more than any other Japanese leader of the post-war era to move his country towards a political role in world affairs commensurate with her vast economic strength. He did it not only as Prime Minister but also in a variety of important posts in a political career spanning nearly 30 years. His period as Prime Minister was a suitable and deserved pinnacle in that career. But possibly his most important contribution to Japan, and the world, has yet to be grasped fully by many people in the West. He was responsible for the normalisation of relations between Japan and South Korea nearly two decades ago and later with North Korea and China - a remarkable feat in the latter case since he also managed to preserve Japan's relationship with Taiwan.

Mr Ohiraalso played a critically important role in the preservation of Japan's close and often difficult relationship with the United States of America. Similarly, he was a most significant influence in the development of the AustraliaJapan relationship. He was a good friend of Australia, with a genuine and obvious liking for this country and its people which was demonstrated as recently as his visit at the beginning of this year. I believe he should also have the greatest share of the credit for transforming the outlook of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan in the 1960s - a change of profound importance to the Japanese people and the world. It was a change from a tradition of power for its own sake to an appreciation of human and social values in the business of government. The full consequences of that transformation have yet to be worked out within Japan, but if the process had been much delayed Japanese politics today might have been far more turbulent, far less stable and far more isolationist. For all these reasons, and indeed more, Mr Ohira was one of the chief architects of the political miracle that has followed Japan's far more publicised economic miracle. The entire world can be grateful for his work in that role.







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