Shimon Ando

Shimon Ando is senior adviser of technology integration for Rio Tinto. He is based at their Centre of Excellence for Automation in Perth, Australia. His work is at the forefront of “data science” – one of the fastest growing fields in the industry – which seeks to understand, manipulate and interpret large amounts of data created from the connected machines and processes. Before joining Rio Tinto six years ago, he studied Mining Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He also has degrees in both Physics and Mineral Economics from his home country of Japan.

Julia Bergin

Julia currently works as a researcher and writer for the award-winning podcast, The Little Red Podcast. She has just concluded her position as Communications and Content Officer for the Asia Society Australia. Julia’s roles span research, writing, editing, audio production, and web management. 


Julia’s work thus far has focused on China, India and Indonesia and Julia is very excited to now turn to her new home-base, Japan. She has written extensively - of note her article on China’s global media strategy, co-authored with Louisa Lim and published by The Guardian Long Reads, "Inside China's audacious global propaganda campaign". This original research has culminated in an ongoing research collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists. Whilst at the Asia Society Australia Julia filed reports on events and sub-edited the original publications Disruptive Asia and Briefing MONTHLY. Julia also built and launched a podcast series with Greg Earl, Festival of Democracy, covering the elections in both India and Indonesia. She is about to publish an essay to feature in Disruptive Asia on extradition between Australia and the People’s Republic of China. 


Julia graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics/International Relations and Criminology. She also has a strong background in the creative arts and continues to practice as a professional artist and photographer.

Bonnie Bley

Bonnie is one of the principal researchers behind the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index, a data-driven project first launched in 2018. The Asia Power Index is the largest comparative assessment of power in the region ever undertaken. It ranks 25 countries – including Japan – in terms of their capacity to influence regional events, using 126 indicators across eight thematic measures of power, ranging from military capability and economic relationships to cultural influence and diplomacy. Bonnie’s responsibilities include designing and revising the methodology of the Asia Power Index, data-mining, analysis, and outreach. Bonnie also leads the research for the Global Diplomacy Index, a digital project which maps, ranks and compares the diplomatic networks of 60 countries.


Bonnie’s op-eds have appeared in The Australian, The Diplomat, Channel News Asia, RealClearDefense and the Lowy Institute’s digital magazine, The Interpreter.


She started her career at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, where she supported research and editing for The Military Balance and the Armed Conflict Database, among other content. She was also responsible for outreach and social media at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Bonnie studied at University College London (UCL) and the University of Bologna.

Ashley Chandler

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Political Science) from the University of Queensland. She was recently admitted as lawyer and currently works as the Associate to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland.


Ashley has maintained a strong connection to Japan since she first began studying the language in high school, including through hosting exchange students and teachers. Her interest in the Japanese language and culture was confirmed on a trip to the sister school in Osaka and to her hometown Toowoomba’s sister city, Takatsuki.


Following graduation from university, Ashley eagerly accepted a position at the prestigious Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo where she worked throughout 2017 and 2018. During those two years in Tokyo, she also interned with the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and made the most of the opportunity to improve her language skills and travel around the country. In addition to upper intermediate Japanese, Ashley also speaks French and has recently started studying Spanish.

Geread Dooley

Geread is MinterEllison's Japan Practice Leader and a trusted adviser to his clients on their public and private M&A transactions, strategic joint ventures and a broad range of corporate, commercial and governance matters. He regularly advises both foreign and domestic clients across a broad range of sectors including Energy & Resources, Renewables, Tech and FMCG sectors and focuses on advising Japanese corporates on their Australian investments and operations. Geread has law degrees from both Kobe University in Japan and the Australian National University and as a result works across both Japanese and English and has a deep understanding of Japanese business and culture. 


Geread is practically minded and a strong communicator who enjoys working closely with his clients to help them achieve their commercial and strategic objectives. Geread is a Japanese Government Monbukagakusho scholarship recipient (being 1 of 6 selected in Australia in my year) and lived in Japan for 5 years. He is also a founding member of the Australia Japan Joint Business Cooperation Committee Future Leaders program.

Aoi Fujita

Aoi started her career as a business consultant at Nomura Research Institute, after finishing an MA in International Relations (2007) and a BA in History (2005) both at the University of Tokyo. 


Having been engaged in a variety of fields of Japanese industry and done many kinds of research and advisory services, what Aoi noticed was that although Japanese industries are overall sophisticated and looking for internationalization, there is one exception; agriculture. At the same time, however, Aoi recognised the potential of Japanese agriculture; high productivity, latest technology, highly-qualified seeds and nursery. In order to empower Japanese agriculture and to be an active member of a stronger agriculture sector, Aoi changed her career and since June 2016 she has been working for Farmship Inc., which develops and runs more than five indoor-farming hydroponic plants located all over Japan. In order to expand her interest and share it with the next generation, she joined Nuffield International Farming Scholarship conference in 2019, established Nuffield Japan Associate with three other fabulous Japanese farmers and took a seat as a board member. Nuffield International is headquartered in Australia, where Aoi hopes there is more potential for joint Japan-Australia projects in agriculture. 


Aoi is also a technical reservist at Japan Ground Self Defense Force, freelance interpreter (Japanese-English-Russian).

Petar Gojkovic

Petar is an Australian Army Captain, specialising in preventive medicine. His role is to prevent disease and injury, as well as promote the health and wellbeing of individuals and populations. He manages specialist teams who deliver better health outcomes and education to the defence force and supported communities. 


Throughout his career in the Army, Petar has engaged with external organisations and the international community to deliver disaster relief, build community capability and support deployed forces. Petar has been training as a Japanese linguist for the past two years, in Melbourne and Tokyo. His goal is to be actively involved in strengthening the Defence relationship between Australia and Japan. 


Petar holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Queensland. He grew up in Brisbane, has lived in many parts of Australia and currently resides in Tokyo.

Tomoyuki Hachigo

Tomoyuki is the co-founder of Sprintlaw - a law/tech startup, disrupting the legal services industry in Australia. Since launching in February 2017, Sprintlaw has helped thousands of Australian businesses get simple and easy legal services. Sprintlaw also recently won the Innovator of the Year award at the 2019 Australian Law Awards. 


Before becoming an entrepreneur, Tomoyuki was a Corporate/M&A lawyer at Clayton Utz, acting for clients on a broad range of corporate transactions. At Clayton Utz he was a member of the Japan practice group advising Japanese clients in their Australian law matters. He also has experience working in legal technology consulting, implementing tech and project management solutions for lawyers at Clayton Utz. 


Tomoyuki studied a Bachelor of Law and Arts (German Studies) at UNSW. He grew up in Sydney and speaks both English and Japanese fluently. In his spare time, he likes going to the cinemas, watching a live show or playing music.

Fahrettin Haczeyni

Fahrettin joined the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine as a JSPS postdoctoral research fellow in 2018 after being selected by the Australian Academy of Science. Fahrettin is a medical scientist working on the metabolic research field that includes bodily energy regulation, obesity, exercise, and drug therapy. In his current role in Japan, Fahrettin is shifting slightly to cancer research but is still focusing on lifestyle-related disorders. Besides research, Fahrettin actively participates in research-oriented organizations in Japan such as Euraxess and Science Dialogue programs. 


One of Fahrettin’s important targets is to establish the Australian Research Network in Japan with some fellow Australians. After completing his MSc degree of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Heidelberg University (Germany) and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey), Fahrettin started a PhD degree at the Australian National University Medical School at the Canberra Hospital. After PhD completion, he stayed at ANU as a medical researcher for nearly 3 years before moving to Tokyo. 


Fahrettin has a broad spectrum of interests from sci-fi story writing to organizing international dinner nights. Although he finds it “chotto muzukashii”, learning the Japanese language is one of his goals, with the objective of more fruitful conversations with local people in “Japanese Izakayas”.

Natalie McDowell

Natalie is a corporate lawyer and Senior Associate in the Australia Japan Practice of global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. She advises leading Japanese organisations on the development of new partnerships and investments in Australia across a range of sectors. Natalie has full professional proficiency in Japanese language – having both studied on Japanese government scholarships and practiced as a lawyer in Tokyo – and holds Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1 accreditation (since 2003).  


As a founding member and Australian Chair of the Australia Japan Future Leaders group of over 45 emerging leaders in Australia Japan business, Natalie sits on the Executive Committee of the peak industry body for Australia Japan business, the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee. In these roles, Natalie supports the group’s work of nurturing the next generation of leaders of Australia Japan business and bringing a fresh perspective on the opportunities and challenges both countries face in a rapidly changing world.


Natalie has a Bachelor of Asian Studies with First Class Honours and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney. She has co-authored a number of publications on Australia Japan business relations, including "Japanese investment in Australia – Lessons Learnt" (October 2016), "M&A trends 2017/2018 – Japan’s new wave of Investment into Australia" (May 2018) and "Japan Australia M&A: Trends and Review (2017-2019)" (March 2019).

Shirzat Memet

Shirzat is an associate at SMBC, based in Tokyo and a member of its Structured Finance Department. He mainly focuses on credit risk analysis of global Project Finance, ECA Finance and LBO/MBO Finance, covering Japan, Central Asia, EMEA and the Americas. His other daily roles include loan documentation, cash flow analysis, security packaging, inter-creditor and borrower-lender coordination and a various range of ancillary services for clients such as interest rate hedging, FX hedging and daily cash management.


He holds a BA (International Relations) and a BBA (Management) from the Australian National University (ANU). His specialised realms of discipline include: IR theories, defence and strategic studies, intelligence, management strategies and economics. During his university years, he established and represented student bodies and attended various international conferences as a guest speaker as well as a delegate such as the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) and the Strategy and Security Conference by the Australian Defence Force Academy. 


Shirzat was born in a Uyghur family in Urumqi, the oasis city of the Silk Road. At the age of 2, he moved to Japan with his family where his father had already settled earlier as the first Uyghur international student. Today, he still maintains strong connections with Uyghur diaspora communities all over the world.

Kanako Murase

Kana is a specialist in developing successful international collaboration in the higher education sector. She has extensive experience in facilitating high-level international engagement at Monash University with recent delegations including the Education Minister from India, the Health Minister of Hong Kong and the President of the C9 universities and many senior figures from high ranking universities across the globe. This work enables Monash to build mutually beneficial agreements through joint Bachelor/Masters/PhD programs, research collaboration, and student and researcher exchanges. By providing strategic advice to senior staff across faculties on potential opportunities and risks, Kana enables the best possible outcomes for engagement. This advice enhances the value of existing and emerging connections by recommending other Monash faculties and projects that may be relevant for global partners. 


Prior to joining Monash, Kana worked for three years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan where she was involved in a number of significant diplomatic events including the planning and delivery of Prime Minister Abe's visit to Sydney, APEC in Philippines and ASEM in Mongolia.

Mari Nakamura

Mari undertakes the position of Assistant Vice President, Planning Department for the Sydney Branch of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Her role covers a wide range of Branch related matters, which include the development of the bank’s Country Strategy in Australia, the MoU with the NSW government on the Western Sydney Project, and promoting the AUD Asset Assignment Program to other Japanese banks.


Prior to her current role, Mari was based in London working for SMBC Europe Limited as an Officer in the Legal and Compliance Department. She was mainly responsible for developing and implementing the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Program of the region.


Being an expat working in Australia, Mari holds strong interest in understanding how a Japanese commercial bank plays a part in supporting business collaborations between Australia and Japan as well as the impact of such influence extending to the Asia Pacific region. She is also an active member of the Future Leaders Program organised by AJBCC/JABCC.


Mari holds a Bachelor Degree from Tokyo University in Foreign Studies (Spanish Studies) and studied at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a Hachiro Koyama Memorial Scholarship Student.


Outside work, Mari enjoys traveling around Australia and practicing Yoga.

Jack Norton

Jack is a journalist and editor specialising in digital news. He works for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra as editor of its analysis site, The Strategist. Jack is interested in the strategic and defence relationship between Japan and Australia and how the two countries can work together to ensure a stable and safe region. 


Before starting at ASPI, he worked for Sky News Australia in the press gallery at Parliament House, managing Sky’s website, social media and a team of digital producers. Jack also produced political programs including AM Agenda for Sky News from Parliament. Before that he worked for Sky in Sydney and at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as an online producer, researcher and intern. 


He holds a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the University of Technology Sydney.

Jun Parker

Dr Parker is the Director of Anaesthesia at Portland District Health in South West Victoria, where he practices as an anaesthetist, and rural generalist. He grew up in Kanagawa Japan before moving to Adelaide for high school. He studied medicine at James Cook University in Townsville where he cultivated his passion for rural medicine. Dr Parker undertook his internship at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and completed further medical training in Queensland and Victoria. To better understand how different rural health systems work in Australia, he spent 15-months providing medical locum relief to numerous rural and remote hospitals in need across every state in Australia before settling in Portland. 


Holding medical registrations in Australia, Japan and USA, he hopes to build more bridges between these countries in health care. His recent project includes being involved in setting up a rural generalist medical training program in Japan. He also founded Australian International Rural Medical Education (AIRMEd) together with his colleagues, a charity that promotes rural health education through international approaches. 


In his spare time, he plays covers of 70’s and 80’s Japanese songs under the pseudonym JPmusic in the hope of bringing this great era of music to a wider audience.

Matthew Richardson

Matt is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo (U-Tokyo). Matt's research focuses on a broad range of energy systems, in both mechanical and aerospace engineering. Matt also teaches in the Center for Global Education, with a particular focus on building collaborative links between the University of Tokyo and Australian universities. He is also working with other Japan-based academics to form a professional network for Australian, New Zealander and Oceanian researchers based in, or with close ties to, Japan. 


Matt completed his PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2019 at U-Tokyo in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). His doctoral dissertation focused on reusable rocket engines. Prior to undertaking his PhD, Matt worked as a systems engineering consultant in Brisbane, working with clients in the commercial aviation, defence and motorsports industries. He also has experience in manufacturing engineering and project management. Matt firmly believes collaborative research and education is crucial to strengthening the partnership between Australia and Japan, and that such collaboration could deliver flow-on benefits in other areas of the bilateral relationship.

Yuki Saito

Yuki is a Japanese-born, Australian-raised business consultant. He is passionate about bringing Japan and the rest of the world closer than it was yesterday. Yuki offers consulting services to companies looking to expand into foreign markets (i.e. Japanese companies expanding into global markets and vice versa), primarily through building a strong business plan and providing execution assistance. 


Yuki has spent more than ten years in Sales and Marketing (DIAGEO & SUNTORY), working on iconic global and local brands (Guinness, Smirnoff, Maker’s Mark and Bundaberg Rum). He was the winner of the Google Global Creative Academy 2013 and an alumnus of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Global Entrepreneurship Development Program (2018). Yuki has worked in the role of International Business Advisor for two Japanese government bodies and he is the Co-Founder of two start-ups.


Yuki and his wife moved back to Japan 18 months ago with their greyhound, to throw themselves into Japanese culture and build their business. Yuki’s passion lies in bringing Australia and Japan closer together and he is, above all things, an AFL enthusiast.

Bethany Schoer 

Bethany is a specialist in Asian political and economic affairs and risk assessment from Melbourne, Australia. She is interested in the on-the-ground impacts of foreign direct investment and security-related issues throughout the Asia-Pacific, particularly in Northeast Asia. 


At 27, Bethany is employed as Amazon’s first Asia-Pacific Intelligence Analyst for its corporate security arm, where she coordinates the delivery of assessments on how regional crime, terrorism, civil unrest and natural disasters impact physical security and employee safety. She has also provided strategic advice to Amazon’s senior management on various high-level geopolitical issues within the region. In addition, Bethany has contributed analysis on foreign direct investment and geopolitical risks in Japan, China and Southeast Asia to the Crawford School of Public Policy, Strategic and Geopolitical Estimates (SAGE) International and Japan Today. 


Bethany graduated in 2017 with a Master of International Business specializing in Asia-Pacific economic issues and corporate strategy, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a Diploma of Languages in Japanese.

Kate Stevenson

Kate Stevenson has extensive experience as a policy researcher, including in the areas of Japanese diplomacy, domestic and international disaster relief and civil-military coordination. She worked for a year in business consulting in Tokyo before continuing her research with the AJRC Research Fellowship. She started work in policy consulting at GR Japan in mid-2018. Since joining GR Japan, she has supported accounts in health, renewable energy and AI-based disaster prevention. In March 2019, she was one of four young researchers invited to present at the Stimson Center (Washington D.C.) on international engagement in disaster response. 


Kate has a B.A. in Asian and International Studies from Griffith University, an honours degree in Asia Pacific Studies from The Australian National University, and an M.A. in International Cooperation from The University of Tokyo. 


She is a citizen of Australia and Great Britain and has lived in Japan for nearly seven years. Kate enjoys cycling and onsens and often combines the two on trips to different parts of Japan.

© 2016 Australia–Japan Youth Dialogue Limited

ABN 37 614 763 218

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