Speaking at a Perth business breakfast, Mr McLean warned that Australia should not ignore Japan's continuing economic and strategic significance in the enthusiasm for developing economic relations with China and India.
Mr McLean said it was unlikely China would surpass Japan as Australia's most important trading partner for at least a decade.
Last year, Australian exports of goods and services to Japan were worth about $32 billion, which amounted to roughly 18 per cent of Australia's exports.
"This is 80 per cent higher than our exports to China and 2 1/2 times greater than we send to the US," the ambassador said.
"The proposition that Japan has been taken over by China is just nonsense."
Mr McLean said much of Japan's recovery had to do with the spirit of competition it was having with China for influence in the region.May 04, 2006The Australian