Already strong business partners, Japan and Australia, will cooperate in the renewable energy trade.

Japan is already a large importer of Australian commodities, from liquified natural gas (LNG) and iron ore to oil and salt. And the port of Himeji, on the country’s west coast, will soon become a centre of cooperation and knowledge, targetting renewable energy and net-zero carbon initiatives. Australia provides Japan with two-thirds of its coal, a third of its LNG and about 60 per cent of its iron ore imports. 

Western Australia’s premier Mark McGowan, recently oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at boosting renewable energy trade opportunities between the two countries.The MoU strengthens the sister-state relationship between WA and Hyogo Prefecture, established in 1981.

“The Pilbara has enormous growth potential in renewable hydrogen, ammonia and critical minerals – and this initiative today will help us to work with our Japanese trading partners to drive local jobs in the region,” Mr McGowan said.

The Port of Himeji is one of the largest importers of LNG from Pilbara Port Authority (PPA) ports in WA. It also presents an opportunity to explore port infrastructure and Japan’s carbon-neutral port plan. 

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Leading the way in liquid hydrogen

Beginning in early 2022, Japan and Australia joined forces to achieve the world’s first shipment of liquid hydrogen (LH2). 

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project (value: A$500 million) is the first of its kind to transport liquefied hydrogen between 2 countries by sea.

Using a specially-built ship – Suiso Frontier – LH2 is being transported from the Port of Hastings in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula to Kobe in Japan. 

Japan is Australia’s second-largest trading partner, only trailing China.

The HESC marked the start of Australia’s significant new energy export industry and strengthened trade and political ties between the two nations. 

Constructed by shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), the 8,000-tonne Susio Frontier is a purpose-designed hydrogen carrier that connects the global hydrogen supply chain.

LH2 is stored on the ship, the first of many scheduled for construction, at 1/800th of its gas-state volume (cooled to –253°C). 

A future-focused partnership

Trade in energy and resources underpins the Japan-Australia commercial relationship.  

Japan is an economic heavyweight, and Australia remains its largest single supplier of LNG, coal and iron ore. 

The two countries are working deeply and in unison to support the advance of low emissions technologies as both look to achieve net zero by 2050

The liquid hydrogen market is another step in the right direction for both nations, accelerating the development of an Australian hydrogen export industry as it becomes a supplier of choice for Japan and the region.


Japan and Australia share deep, long-lasting trade ties.

As both nations target net zero by 2050, they’re shifting focus to the trade of green energy sources, particularly those from the Pilbara in WA.

These recent announcements back up a strong history of successful combined projects to support the energy transition globally – and in the Asia Pacific region. 

Clean hydrogen is seen as central to both Australia’s and Japan’s strategies to achieve net zero emissions while continuing to support economic and job growth.

Only time will tell whether the partnership can reach new highs, but these continued agreements certainly put it on the right track. 

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