2018 Foreign Minister's Commendations Announced - WA Recipients



July 17, 2018

Consulate-General of Japan in Perth


Japanese Foreign Minster's Commendations


On July 17 the recipients of the 2018 Foreign Minister’s Commendation were announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The commendation was awarded to 205 individuals and 49 groups or organizations worldwide, including the following 4 from Western Australia.
The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals or groups in recognition of exceptional and distinguished services in the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and their respective countries. We offer our congratulations and sincere appreciation of the efforts and service of the recipients.

Western Australian Recipients:

1. Ms Ursula Pagels ‘WAKO’ (her flower name), Director, Australian Sogetsu Teachers Association of WA

Having taught and promoted Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) for many years, Ms Pagels has worked tirelessly to foster an appreciation of Japanese culture in WA. Holding many exhibits and participating in various events such as the Perth Japan Festival, she has contributed greatly to mutual understanding and the friendly relations between Japan and Australia. Ms Pagels has also contributed to the work of the Consulate-General of Japan through providing stunning Ikebana displays at its various Receptions.

2. Japanese Language Teachers' Association of Western Australia

Established in 1972, the Japanese Language Teachers’ Association of Western Australia (JLTAWA) has worked primarily as an association to support teachers of Japanese in Primary and Senior High Schools in Western Australia. Their work has greatly contributed to the promotion of Japanese language education in WA, improving teaching skills, increasing the popularity of Japanese language study and greatly increasing mutual understanding between Australia and Japan. At their annual JLTAWA conferences, the group has provided great opportunities for teachers to share individual experiences, teaching materials and ideas to improve Japanese language education in the state. The association has worked endlessly to improve the level of Japanese language learners, holding Japanese speech contests, calligraphy contests, and Kaiwa Days, among other events.

3. Japan Festival Inc.

Established in 2013, Japan Festival Inc. has been the organizer of the Perth Japan Festival and related events since the first Perth Japan Festival in 2014. The event showcases Japanese culture including martial arts, music and performances, while providing visitors the opportunity to experience Japanese cuisine and products at various stalls run by local Japanese business and community groups, creating an atmosphere and flavour of a typical Japanese summer festival. Attracting more and more visitors each year, the festival now attracts over 20,000 people annually, contributing greatly to the ongoing strength and understanding between Australia and Japan, and raising awareness of Japanese culture in Perth.

4. Perth USAsia Centre, at The University of Western Australia

The Perth USAsia Centre has been recognized for its contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and Australia through its work as a not-for-profit institution strengthening relationships and strategic thinking between Australia, the Indo-Pacific and the USA, focusing on geo-political issues, policy development and building a strategic affairs community across government, business and academia. The Centre has held various seminars and symposiums involving the Japanese Ambassador, and Japanese experts from both Japan and Australia. In March 2018, they held a Japan Symposium to look in depth at issues surrounding Japan’s role in the Indo-Pacific.