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Japan–New Zealand relations

New Zealand–Japan relations
Map indicating locations of New Zealand and Japan

New Zealand


Japan–New Zealand relations refers to the diplomatic relations between Japan and New Zealand. Both nations are members of APEC, Australia Group, CPTPP, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.


New Zealand Prime Minister Keith Holyoake (left) met with Japanese Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ohira (right), in October 1972.
Commodore John Martin, RNZN (left) and Vice Admiral Yasushi Matsushita, JMSDF at the Yokosuka headquarters near Tokyo on 15 October 2012.

Initial contact between Japan and New Zealand was via London as New Zealand was a part of the British Empire. In 1928, while New Zealand was a self-governing dominion within the British empire; Japan and New Zealand signed a provisional arrangement concerning commerce, customs and navigation.[1] In 1938, Japan opened a consulate in Wellington. During World War II, New Zealand forces fought against Japan, primarily in Singapore, the Solomon Islands and in the waters surrounding Japan.[2] Towards the end of the war, in 1944, New Zealand warships HMNZS Achilles and HMNZS Gambia bombarded the Japanese coast. The war in the Pacific soon ended after the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.[2]

In 1947, New Zealand became an independent nation. In 1952, both nations established diplomatic relations and that same year, New Zealand opened a diplomatic legation in Tokyo. The following year, Japan opened a legation in Wellington.[1] In 1955, Prime Minister Sidney Holland became the first New Zealand head-of-government to pay an official visit to Japan. The visit was reciprocated in 1957 by Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.[1] Since the normalization of relations, Japan and New Zealand have developed strong political ties with, common views and a shared interest in the stability, growth and development of the Asia Pacific region.[3] In April 2012, both nations celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations.[3]

State visits

Royal and Prime Ministerial visits from Japan to New Zealand[3]
Prime Ministerial visits from New Zealand to Japan[3]

Bilateral agreements

Both nations have signed several bilateral agreements such as a Provisional Arrangement concerning Commerce, Customs and Navigation (1929); Agreement on Commerce (1958); Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (1963); Agreement concerning Reciprocal Waiving of Passport Visas and Passport Visa Fees (1970); Agreement on Fisheries (1978); Agreement on Air Services (1980) and an Agreement on Working holiday visa (1985).[3]

Tourism and Transportation

In 2014, 81,000 Japanese citizens visited New Zealand for tourism. That same period, over 41,000 New Zealanders visited Japan for tourism.[3] There are direct flights between Japan and New Zealand with Air New Zealand.


In 2016, trade between Japan and New Zealand totaled US$6.4 billion.[4] Japan's main exports to New Zealand include: motor vehicles and electronic goods. New Zealand's main exports to Japan include: aluminium, cheese, kiwifruit and beef.[4]

Resident diplomatic missions

See also