Foreign investment, particularly Japanese investment, has become the centre of a very controversial and heated debate. Newspapers and television current affairs shows have turned the spotlight on this very delicate and sensitive area of Australian policy.
There is evidence of a strong adverse reaction by some sections of the Australian community towards Japanese investment in the real estate industry. Emotional meetings of local concerned residents and provocative media headlines (such as "Japanese Takeaway" and "Australia Buy Now : Going Cheap") have contributed little to objective debate. Equally partisan arguments have been put forward by Japanese foreign investment proponents ( with salutations such as "That's no invasion, its our salvation").
In overall terms, Japan stands out clearly as Australia's major trading partner. In recent years, the pattern of Japanese direct investment has changed with an increasing amount being directed to the finance, business, tourism and real estate sectors. These changes are a result of the strong value of the yen, relaxation of Australian Government policies, and high interest rates in Australia. However, contrary to public expectation, while the Japanese are the largest investors in real property in Queensland in terms of value, in terms of ownership of land, Japan ranks only 4th, with only 80,932 ha, which is only 7.04 per cent of all foreign landholdings or 0.05 per cent of total Queensland area. 1
The purpose of this thesis has been to examine :
(i) the nature and pattern of Japanese investment in land in Queensland;
(ii) reasons for Japan's promotion of investment in Australia; and
(iii) Australian policies regarding foreign investment in land.