Rio Tinto sponsors new study chair at University of Tokyo

After a fun-filled day at the West Angeles mine on Wednesday, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe witnessed the signing of a statement to establish a Rio Tinto Chair of Australian-Japan Studies.

The new role at the University of Tokyo will be funded by Rio Tinto for an initial three-year period.

The move is a collaborative effort between the Australia-Japan Foundation and the University of Tokyo.

Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh and Australia-Japan Foundation chair Murray McLean signed the Statement of Intent before the two Prime Ministers at a ceremony in Perth.

Walsh said the new position would generate greater cooperation and understanding between the two countries.

“I firmly believe that education is the pathway forward to strengthen the bonds of friendship and the levels of knowledge of both Australia and Japan,” he said.

“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of the Australia-Japan Foundation and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the University of Tokyo to bring this role to life for the benefit of both countries .”

The role of the chair will be to raise the profile of Australia in Japan , to expand the scope and quality of Australia-Japan study programs, and to promote academic and research links between Australian and Japanese universities and develop Australia-Japan institutional and knowledge-based realtions in the 21st century.

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