Critics over National Library of Australia’s decision on cease collecting material on most APAC countries

(27 May 2020)  The current crisis in relations with China has exposed the extreme delicacy and importance of Australia’s relationship with its Asian neighbours. One lesson of this crisis, highlighted by commentators across the political spectrum, is that Australia must prevent over-dependence on China by fostering closer relations with other regional neighbours, including Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations.

The National Library of Australia has chosen this moment to announce that it will cease collecting material on Japan, Korea and all of mainland Southeast Asia, retaining only some reduced acquisition of information on China, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Seventy years of commitment to collecting on the region have made the national library one of the world’s greatest resources of information on Asia. This national treasure will now be left to wither.

Tessa Morris-Suzuki, emeritus professor of Japanese history at the Australian National University, shares her opinion on The Sydney Morning Herald here.