A Japanese honour for ANU alumna

9 February 2015

Professor Jenny Corbett (BA (Hons) '73) says winning the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun award for her work on Japanese economics shows ANU is in the same class as other world-leading universities that teach Japanese studies.

Professor Corbett, who is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Research Training), received The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding and the strengthening of economic relations between Japan and Australia.

There are six levels to the Order of the Rising Sun awards and Professor Corbett’s award was the third level. First and second level awards are reserved for officials and heads of state.

In the past it has been awarded to academics who have headed prestigious centres of Japanese studies when they retire from those positions.

“Typically it’s in world-class universities and among past recipients have been heads of Research Institutes of Japanese Studies at Oxford, Harvard, Princeton and London School of Economics,” Professor Corbett said.

“So what I really felt was ‘this is fantastic’ because it’s saying ANU is in that class, that our Japanese studies is regarded by the Japanese government as being of that sort of calibre.”

Professor Corbett says the award acknowledges the impact of her research on Japan’s economy and her commitment to teaching students and providing academic expertise to policy makers in Japan and Australia and the business community. A rewarding part of her work has been to take part I “track2” diplomacy through the Australia-Japan Converences working up to signing the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement.

“I’d say the agreement is a good agreement. Bilateral trade deals never give everybody everything they want, that’s why this one took 10 years to negotiate. There were a lot of really tough bits – agriculture was one area. There were quite a lot of new elements to the agreement around service sectors and investment agreements and so on. But the business communities are pretty happy with it,” she said.

“I guess the interesting thing will be, moving forward, whether businesses can take this agreement and take the relationship in new directions, particularly in the services industries where we haven’t had much to go on, with Japan. There are a lot of things that have been quite difficult and should get easier with this agreement, but we’ll see.”

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