Mitsui Study Tour of Japan

Mitsui Study Tour Japan


Interested in Japan? If so, how much would you jump at the chance to:

  • Visit the factories of some of Japan’s famous manufacturers, like Toyota?
  • Discuss the business of one of Japan’s largest trading houses at their Tokyo headquarters?
  • Receive a briefing on bilateral relations from the Australian Ambassador to Japan?
  • Attend an international relations class at the prestigious Keio University?
  • Spend a few days living with a Japanese family?
  • Visit places of historical and cultural significance in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima?
  • Learn more about Japan’s famous lean manufacturing?

Believe it or not, if you are an Australian university student you have the chance to do all of the above and more – for FREE. Crazy, right?


Mitsui Study Tour

The Mitsui Group (三井グループ) is one of the largest corporate conglomerates (系列) in Japan and one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.  It has played a significant part in the making of modern Japan, with its origins extending back to 1624, less than a decade after the death of Japan’s first shogun. Mitsui first began trading in Australia at the time of federation, and recent history has seen it play a substantial role in the development of Australia’s resources sector.

For over four decades now, Mitsui has demonstrated its commitment to Japan-Australia relations by annually funding eight Australian university students to attend a three-week study tour to Japan. AirfareS for the MEF study tour are also kindly sponsored by Japan Airlines Australia.

Over 320 young Australians have visited Japan through this program since its inception in 1971. The lucky students travel through Japan and take part in activities to learn about the country’s history, business, industry, contemporary and traditional culture, and relationship with Australia. They participate in all of the activities mentioned above.

Benefits of participating in the study tour extend beyond the immediate trip. The trip enables young Australians to get a feel for the Australia-Japan relationship, develop relationships with key persons of influence, and work how they can individually engage with Japan to take the relationship forward. Many past participants now hold senior roles in a variety of sectors and play an important role in promoting ties between Australia and Japan.

Mitsui Study Tour Japan



Mitsui has 22 partner universities in Australia, and each year eight of these universities are selected for participation. The participating universities promote this opportunity on their websites and through posters and email campaigns. Each of the eight of the universities put forward four candidates to be interviewed by Mitsui. The most eligible candidate is then selected to participate in the study tour, based on the following criteria:

  • outstanding ambassadors for their university, and who will excel as Australian representatives while in Japan;
  • academically capable; however, high academic achievement is not compulsory;
  • interested in learning about Japan and who would most benefit from this experience;
  • full-time undergraduate students (second year or higher) from any faculty and campus in the university’s state or territory; and
  • Australian citizens.

For more information on this generous opportunity, check out Mitsui’s website.


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Will Barker is a lawyer in the Brisbane offices of a global law firm. He has studied abroad in Japan and the UK and represented Australia at a number of international youth diplomatic conferences.

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