The Australia-Japan Society – ACT Inc.

The Australia – Japan Society (ACT) Inc. (AJS) is a non-profit community organisation, formed in 1972 to facilitate contact and understanding between Australians and Japanese and to promote informed interest in Japan, Japanese culture and Japanese people.

The Society enthusiastically cooperates with other organisations interested in promoting the Australia – Japan relationship, including universities, schools and the Federal and ACT governments, and works closely with the Embassy of Japan.

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Latest News

  • IJSP (Ishikawa Japanese Studies Program) – April 2020

    IJSP (Ishikawa Japanese Studies Program) 2020 The Australia-Japan Society of the ACT (AJS ACT), in conjunction with the Ishikawa Foundation for International Exchange (IFIE), is again calling for applications for the two-week in-country course in Japanese language/culture in Kanazawa. This will be the 34th course that has been run under this program. The course will [...]

  • Bee line between Okinawa and Canberra

    28 September 2019 We are in for another insightful talk, this time presented by Alexander (Sasha)  Mikheyev of ANU , titled 'Bee line between Okinawa and Canberra'. Globalization has allowed the exchange of ideas, resources and technology. However, it has also facilitated the worldwide spread of diseases, parasites and invasive species. Sasha has been examining [...]

  • Lanterns at the Canberra Nara Candle Festival

    Canberra Nara Candle Festival 2019

    26th October 2019 The Canberra Nara Candle Festival is a celebration of the sister-city relationship between Canberra and Nara, Japan. Each October the festival brings together a wide variety of Japanese and Australian arts and crafts such as calligraphy, lantern making, origami and ikebana. As the sun sets, a total of 2,000 candles bathe the [...]


Advice and Assistance

AJS (ACT) receives a variety of requests from companies, organisations and individuals seeking information and assistance on Japanese contacts and communication. We assist where we can, including by providing referrals for interpreting and translation services.


AJS (ACT) conducts an annual student exchange between secondary schools in Canberra and in Japan in collaboration with the Japan-Australia Society, Kobe.

Arranging host accommodation and short term billets for visitors from Japan is an integral part of the Society’s activites. Each year Society members host a large number of students and visiting cultural groups from Japan.


The Society’s quarterly newsletter, “Kakehashi”, includes articles of general interest on Japan contributed by members. There are regular items on AJS news, social events, exhibitions, television and film reviews and links to on-line information on Japan.


The Society manages, coordinates and supports a number of Program each year.

Please click on the Tabs below to view relevant details

Student Exchange Scholarships

A student exchange is conducted each year in cooperation with the Kobe Japan-Australia Society.  Secondary students from Canberra and from Kobe have an opportunity to study and live with a family.   The 6-10 weeks exchange provides a unique cultural experience, immersion in the local language and can lead to lasting friendships.  The AJS (ACT) provides the selected Canberra secondary students with the full cost of return travel.


AJS (ACT) Student Exchange Program Coordinator,
GPO Box 1066,
Canberra ACT 2601

IFIE Japanese Language and Culture Course

(Kanazawa, JAPAN)

Twice each year the Australia – Japan Society (ACT) arranges participants for a two-week in-country course in Japanese language/culture – in Kanazawa, Japan.  The course is run by the Ishikawa Foundation for International Exchange (IFIE) in April and September/October. 

The courses run for 2 weeks from a Sunday afternoon to the Friday evening two weeks later and include intensive language lessons, cultural activities and home stay accommodation with a Japanese family – this latter is one of the outstanding features of the program and certainly gives a boost to the participants’ language skills.

During the course, mornings are spent in formal language classes and, most afternoons, opportunities are provided to explore the local culture, either in organised classes and excursions or course participants are encourged to explore Kanazawa by themselves or with other members of the group.

The classes are tailored to the individual participant’s language skills – participants are assessed on the first day and placed in classes according to their language abilities. Beginner classes are available in the September/October intake.  There are excellent facilities and very helpful teachers at the Institute.

Below is a video about the program, and you can also find more information at  http://www.ifie.or.jp/ijsc/english/ijsp/index.html   The AJS two week course doesn’t, of course, cover the full range of activities shown for the longer courses in the video, but there are many common features.

The total course cost per participant, including all course fees, cultural activities and accommodation for the duration of the course (but NOT including fares to and from Kanazawa, Japan) is, depending on fluctuations in the $/yen ratio, around $900 – $1,100.  Participants are advised to allow about $30 – $40 per day for day-to-day expenses (bus fares, lunches, souvenirs etc) so the total cost for the two week experience, by the time you have travelled to and from Kanazawa, is usually around $3,000.

Applicants must be at least 20 years old, must be a member of an Australia – Japan Society or an affiliated organisation (or join one) and must be prepared to stay in Japan for the duration of the course.

This is a great chance to commence, refresh, improve or develop your Japanese language skills and, if your profession is appropriate, the cost may be tax deductible as a self-education expense.

For a more detailed outline of the program and for homestay application forms contact Michael Hodgkin, the coordinator of the program at;

E-mail:  ajsifiecourses@gmail.com

or snail mail: IFIE Program Coordinator, c/o Australia – Japan

Society (ACT), PO Box 1066, Canberra, ACT 2601

You can also get an in-depth view of the program by visiting our testimonies page!

Tohoku Tsunami Youth Victims Program


tohoku students at the aboretumFrom early 2012 the AJS (ACT) has been running a program to bring students who lost parents in the disastrous Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, for a brief respite holiday in Canberra. Up to 300 children lost both parents and more than 1000 lost one parent.

This program is called the “TOHOKU YOUTH PROGRAM”.

The purpose of these visits is to create friendship and goodwill and to show these young people that the Australian community cares for them and wishes to help.They participate in many social and educational programs while in Canberra: they are hosted at schools, visit Federal and ACT government departments and visit many venues and sights in Canberra.

tohoku students racing the presidentThis program is supported by the Australia-Japan Foundation, the Embassy of Japan, Ashinaga Ikuei Kai in Japan, Radford College, Questacon, the National Zoo and Aquarium, the Farmyard Nursery at Symonston, our patron Mr. Ron Murray AM of Murrays Bus Company, Japan Airlines plus many more Canberran individuals. The students home-stay in pairs with host families from Radford College.

The funds for the program have been raised by the AJS (ACT) though fund raising events, grants from the Australia-Japan Foundation, plus the support many other Canberra organisations, too many to acknowledge here. The first visit took place in March 2012 and to date we have accepted eighteen young students and planning for another four this year.

We now know that this program does help these young people and can change their lives.

The AJS (ACT) is inviting the community to participate by supporting this program.


  1. You can help by raising the money to sponsor a young victim to take part in this program. Contact ajspresidentact@gmail.com or the Australia-Japan Society (ACT), PO Box 1066 Canberra ACT 2601
  2. Your organisation can partner with the AJS (ACT) in sponsoring a young victim. Contact bjarman@homemail.com.au  or the TYP co ordinator AJS (ACT) PO Box 1066 canberra ACT 2601


Membership of the AJS is open to all persons and organisations who have a genuine interest in Australia-Japan relationships. Members are invited to renew membership from 1 July each year. There are Individual, Family; Youth/Student; Educational Institution and Corporate membership categories.
Why not join the AJS (ACT), participate in the many events and active community of people interested in Japan and things Japanese?

Become a member of the AJS (ACT) and you will be automatically be signed up for our quarterly newsletter, Kakehashi, which contains articles of general interest regarding Japan-related events and exhibitions in Canberra, as well as film reviews and links to information and resources about the Japanese language and culture. As an AJS member, you will also receive discounts to Japan-related events around Canberra.

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