Australia-Japan Society of NSW

From exchange student to Executive VP of Mitsui Australia - Wendy Holdenson

  • 16 Jun 2015
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • TressCox 16F MLC Building Martin Place Sydney


  • Members of Japan Chamber of Commerce in Sydney
  • Everyone not a member of AJS-NSW or JCCI Sydney
  • Special price for this event for tertiary students. If you don't know the registration code, email us at info(at)

Hear one Australian woman's Japan story.

At 16, her father said she was too young to go to University. Instead Wendy went on a one-year exchange to a rural village near Tsuruoka in Yamagata where award-winning 'Okuribito' (or 'Departures') was filmed. What’s more, her host family ran the local funeral parlour there.

She spent the year at Yuza agricultural high school. But without any language, she spent much of her time planting rice seedlings in muddy paddies in spring, manually harvesting the crop in autumn, and making rice cakes during the long winter.

Decades later, in 2009, after carving out a career in some of Japan's and Australia's largest corporations, Wendy was appointed Australian Consul-General in Fukuoka. During her four-year assignment there she had many character-building experiences including:

  • tough negotiations with officials of agricultural stakeholders to promote a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Japan
  • experiencing up-close the Great Tohoku Earthquake

Today Wendy is Executive Vice-President and Director of the Australian subsidiary of trading and investment conglomerate Mitsui & Co., which of course is now benefiting from the FTA she fought so hard for.

Expect to be captivated and impressed as Wendy talks about her career and the many changes she’s either experienced or brought about working with Japan.

Registrations are now open, online or use the form.

About the Society

The Australia-Japan Society of NSW Incorporated (AJS-NSW) aims to bring together Australian and Japanese people living in NSW to explore mutual interests.

AJS-NSW holds regular business, social and cultural functions, at various locations around Sydney.

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PO Box R937, Royal Exchange NSW 1225

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