Episode 36

Published on:

31st Jul 2023

From petrol stations to diplomacy: Building bridges through people-to-people connections with Dom Walton-France

Embark on a journey of diplomacy as we delve into the role of the New Zealand Embassy in Japan. We speak with Deputy Ambassador, Dom Walton-France and discover how the embassy strengthens the relationship between our two countries through government connections, trade promotion, tourism initiatives and more. Dom shares his wealth of experience from his early days working at petrol stations and being a rafting guide in rural Japan to now being Deputy Ambassador representing Aotearoa New Zealand in Japan. 

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • Dom’s long connection with Japan and full circle moments before he transitions back to Wellington
  • How Japan and NZ complement each other through opposite seasons and specialties
  • The importance of long term people to people relationships for good ties between nations
  • The roles and responsibilities of the embassy in promoting and strengthening the NZ-Japan relationship

About Dom

Dom Walton-France is currently the Deputy Ambassador at the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo. 

He has a long association with Japan dating back to 1987 when he first visited on a 3 week sister city exchange. Dom lived and worked in Japan for close to 4 years in the 1990s in a variety of jobs including gas station attendant, part time rafting guide, ski-field worker and English teacher. 

Dom has been working in the New Zealand public service for nearly 25 years in internationally focused roles based in New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific. He served as New Zealand’s representative on the Board of the Asian Development Bank in Manila for three years from 2013-2015. He also spent three years as New Zealand’s Deputy High Commissioner to Tonga, and earlier in his career spent six years working in the International Team at the New Zealand Treasury. He is married to Hannah Walton-France and has 4 children who have all enjoyed spending time in Japan.


NZ Embassy: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/asia/japan/new-zealand-embassy/

Safe Travel https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/ 

Summer Listening

Episode 5: Jason Allen, Representative Director, Cookie Time Japan https://www.jandalsinjapan.com/episode/five 

Episode 6: Makoto Kinjo, President, ANZCO Foods https://www.jandalsinjapan.com/episode/six 

Episode 10: Dave Mair, CEO, Skellerup, https://www.jandalsinjapan.com/episode/ten 

Episode 33: Rebecca Thorn, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Tokyo Shibuya https://www.jandalsinjapan.com/episode/thirthy-three 

Jandals in Japan is brought to you by Catherine O’Connell Law and PodLaunch with Jayne

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
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About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.