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18 Defence Issue 1 2016
Law graduate Shinichi joined the JMOD in
2009 as he has an interest in international
politics and security. In Japan, he works for
their IP Division in the Bureau of Defence
As the name implies, his division is
responsible for Japanese defence policies,
cooperation, force planning, acquisition of
equipment and intelligence.
In Australia, Shinichi worked in the Pacific
Islands and Maritime Security Section.
“My section developed and coordinated
policy advice on Australia’s defence
relationships with Pacific Island and Latin
American countries,” Shinichi says.
“I worked mainly on Australia’s relationships
with Tonga and Chile.
“I worked on the Chief of Defence Force’s
visit to Tonga for the coronation of Tonga’s
new king in June and Tonga’s Chief of Defence
Staff ’s counterpart visit to Canberra.
“I also worked on Defence cooperation talks
in September where I was part of the delegation
and attended the talks, which provided me with
the opportunity to see how Australia engages
with its regional partners.”
Shinichi first became interested in working
in Australia when he was finishing his Master’s
degree at Columbia University in the US earlier
“Our Ministers had agreed on a personnel
exchange program and Australia had already
sent personnel to Tokyo, but JMOD was still
preparing to send an officer to Canberra,”
“I felt so cosy in Australia because the
people were so nice and relaxed.
“All of my colleagues welcomed me and
gave me a lot of opportunities to learn how
Defence works and to experience the Australian
“They took me to so many places in
Canberra which I don’t think I would have gone
to and enjoyed by myself.
“I also like the way people socialise.
“I experienced morning teas, section
activities and dining-in nights. The degree of
formality and frequency varied, but all are good
for socialising and getting to know each other,
which make both my private and official life
easier and more interesting.”
Shinichi says he learnt a lot during his
secondment and was impressed by Australia’s
commitment to the region.
“An example of that commitment is the scale
of the Australian Defence Cooperation Program
to Tonga,” Shinichi says.
“It is solely bigger than the whole of
JMOD’s capacity assistant activities in the
world, although this is primarily because of
the different strategic priorities and Australia’s
enduring strong commitment to the region.
“I will definitely tell my Japanese colleagues
a secondment in Australian Defence will be
a great opportunity to know Australian views
on regional security and relationships with
Japan and to establish links with Australian
“IP Division, especially the Pacific and
Timor-Leste Branch, is the ideal place for
Japanese officers – they can see the convergence
of many of Australia’s and Japan’s interests and
concerns in the region.”
Luke Barrington is also working in IP in
Canberra on exchange from New Zealand.
Luke works for the New Zealand Ministry
of Defence helping manage New Zealand’s
international defence relationships and is
responsible for New Zealand’s defence relations
with North, Central and South America.
He began working in Australia in February
2015 and will return to New Zealand this year.
Working in the Pacific and Timor-Leste
Branch, his role focuses on the Pacific Island
“I had my eye on this exchange since it was
announced in 2013 and it was a pleasure to be
chosen as the successful candidate,” Luke says.
“New Zealand and Australia work closely
on a huge number of issues, so having an
understanding of the Australian system is really
“The exchange is a really wonderful
opportunity to work inside an Australian
Government department and to experience and
observe the differences between the NZ and
“It’s also great to make connections with
Australian public servants working on similar
“I’ve made some great friends here that I
plan on staying in touch with when I get home.”
Luke says he has learnt a lot since working in
IP, despite the difference in scale.
“I know we are a smaller country with a
small defence force, but it wasn’t until I came
across here and witnessed the Australian system
for myself that I really understood the difference
in scale and capability.
“Australia is huge, relatively speaking. It
illustrated to me just how hard New Zealand
will have to work to make sure we remain
He says Defence’s diarchy was foreign to
him and that took some getting used to.
“Our Secretary runs New Zealand’s Ministry
of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force
is run by our Chief of Defence Force and they
are separated by legislation,” Luke says.
“They are two separate organisations
providing joint advice on Defence matters to the
“Working under the diarchy has been really
interesting and a good illustration of how New
Luke Barrington, of New
Zealand, and Shinichi
Ikawa, of Japan, are
both on exchange to
Division in Canberra.
Photo: Corporal Aaron Curran
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