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Recognizing its role in strengthening ties between Australia and Japan, the Australian National University last week announced the creation of a new scholarship for Japanese graduate students.The scholarship will provide tuition and other expenses for three years of graduate study in any discipline to one student a year, who will be selected by a committee of the university’s alumni in Japan. “A national university must be at the forefront for being links across nations,” ANU Vice Chancellor Deane Terrell said at a reception held at the International House of Japan in Tokyo to announce the new award.Especially when it comes to Asia, said Peter Drysdale, an ANU professor and a renowned expert on East Asian economies. With Australia’s highest concentration of Asia scholars and several research institutes dedicated to East Asian studies, the university has become the nation’s primary source of policy ideas related to Japan and East Asia.The university, for instance, played a major part in establishing the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation forum process, Drysdale said. “In the coming months, the ANU will want to work to assist with the resolution of the huge problems facing the Indonesian economy,” he added.Japan’s cooperation is crucial to this process, he said, “because a lack of confidence in the Japanese economy and in its currency in particular will vastly complicate recovery in the rest of East Asia.”Regarding the Diet’s recent passage of bills to rescue Japan’s beleaguered banking sector, Drysdale said, “Getting the measures so far through the Diet is a huge step forward,” he said. “The banking process deserves the priority it is now being given, because it is the core problem. Stimulus to the Japanese economy will be ineffective unless that core problem is dealt with.”

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