Following a meeting this summer in London, Japanese ambassador to the UK plans trip to economic hotspots of Scotland
THE JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TO THE UK will lead a delegation to Scotland to visit keys places in Scotland that are centres of cultural interest and economic activity.
The visit follows a previous meeting between SNP MP Dr Paul Monaghan and Mr Koji Tsuruoka in London in June as well as plans made between Japan’s Consul General in Edinburgh, Mr Daisuke Matsunaga and the MP.
The invitation was originally extended only to Monaghan’s Highland constituency to see local enterprises and look at enhancing economic and business ties with Japan, however the opportunities for a wider trip have been explored.
"It is important that the people of Scotland know that the people of Japan value our common links and friendship." Koji Tsuruoka
Ambassador Tsuruoka, said: "It was a great pleasure to meet with representatives of Scotland in London shortly after I arrived in the UK to take up my appointment as Ambassador.
"Japan has many interests in Scotland including shared economic goals and the people of Japan hold Scotland in very high regard as a tourist destination also.
"For all of these reasons I was very pleased to be invited to Scotland by Dr Monaghan and immediately prioritised the visit. Yesterday and today I have met with businesses that demonstrate a commitment to innovation, quality and customer service and I have been very impressed.
"It is clear to me, first, that I must return to play some golf, but more importantly that there is enormous potential to further develop business links between our countries. That is something I will also prioritise.
"It is important that the people of Scotland know that the people of Japan value our common links and friendship, and Mr Matsunaga and I very much look forward to working with the Scottish Government, and Dr Monaghan and his colleagues in London, to grow and develop the friendship that exists between our countries and our business links in the future."
"The key message of course is that we have a fantastically innovative economy, a well-trained, motivated and qualified workforce, access to major ports and sea channels and, above all, Scotland is open for business." Dr Paul Monaghan
Tsuruoka was only this year appointed as the new ambassador of Japan to the UK and his visit to the constituency will be his first official UK visit outside of London and to Scotland.
His visit comes after an official Japanese government task force on Brexit, produced a 15-page list titled "Japan's message to the UK and the EU", detailing requirements from Brexit negotiations in order for trade to continue with the UK.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK ran an interview and news piece focused on Scottish independence following the Brexit vote.
Half of all Japanese investment in the EU goes to the UK including companies such as Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Nomura and Daiwa. There has been a steady growth in trade between Japan and Scotland with interest in Scottish salmon, whisky and other seafood goods.
Exports of Scottish fish and seafood to Japan have grown since 2007, witnessing export increase of 180 per cent.
The value of Scotland’s direct exports to Japan from 2014 to 2015 were worth £295m.
Today [Friday 16 September] the Ambassador will visit Dounreay to review the decommissioning process with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and to discuss the ongoing partnership working and knowledge transfer with Fukushima.
The delegation will also visit the Global Energy Park and Atlantis Facility in Nigg, recently covered by CommonSpace, when it saw the world's first tidal wave farm.
Mr Tsuruoka is due to visit Diageo’s Clynelish Distillery in Brora, which produces one of Japan’s favourite whisky and speak with captains of the Scottish food, tourism and golf industries.
"Japan has many interests in Scotland including shared economic goals and the people of Japan hold Scotland in very high regard as a tourist destination also." Koji Tsuruoka
Dr Paul Monaghan MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, commented: "As businesses and communities deal with the deep uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote – everything we can do to help exporting businesses and encourage investment here in Scotland can only be a positive – and greater ties as a result of visits such as this can help grow our economy.
"I know the delegation will get a warm welcome and I know they will leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of what we have to offer to Japanese business and tourism.
"The key message of course is that we have a fantastically innovative economy, a well-trained, motivated and qualified workforce, access to major ports and sea channels and, above all, Scotland is open for business."
The value of Scotland’s direct exports to Japan from 2014 to 2015 were worth £295m as 80 Japanese companies with a combined turnover of £1.4bn, employ 5430 people.
Between the years of 2012 and 2014, six projects were secured by Scottish businesses in Japan creating 390 jobs.
Picture courtesy of Bryan Jones
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