Speaking to an esteemed audience at the Embassy of Japan in London last Thursday, H.E Keiichi Hayashi said: “I am sure that Manchester’s invitation to the Japanese business community to promote investment relations in the coming years is a little more than shirt sponsorship.”
“One and a half centuries on, Manchester is again extending its hand to Japan, inviting it to join the list of its priority international partners.”
“In my humble view the Manchester region, with its industrial heritage, excellent academic establishments and efficient transport links, is well placed to take Japan-UK relationship to the next level. Like all of you I am eager to hear what others have to say in this regard.”
The event, titled ‘Science, Innovation, Infrastructure and the Rise of the Northern Powerhouse’, was supported by JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organisation, and MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency.
Other speakers included influential Manchester representatives Lord O’Neill of Gatley, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and Tony Lloyd, Mayor of Greater Manchester.
Talking of the event, Lord O’Neill of Gatley said: “Championing the exciting opportunities for global investment in the Northern Powerhouse is a key part of our plans to rebalance the economy.
“Already our great northern cities are attracting the eye of overseas investors, including Japan, and this event is a brilliant opportunity to showcase some of our most compelling projects to help them become a reality.”
Representatives of some major Japanese investors also took to the stage to explain why they had chosen to innovate in Manchester. Kozo Shimazu, Managing Director of Kratos Analytical drew similarities between Japan and Manchester’s proud scientific legacies, while Hironori Tsujimura, Executive Director at the London Office of East Japan Railway Company said that Greater Manchester’s infrastructure plans demonstrate a region with a bright future.
Through hosting the event Manchester sought to leverage opportunities brought about by the UK Government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative in order to attract Japanese investment. The Northern Powerhouse presents billions of pounds worth of investments covering a wealth of industries including advanced manufacturing, life sciences, creative and digital technology, as well as energy and environment. The event showcased the region’s strengths in these sectors whilst highlighting a wealth of opportunities to work with Japanese investors.
Manchester has a long history of welcoming Japanese businesses and collaborative partnerships and is home to over 60 Japanese companies, including Brother, Kratos Analytical, Hitachi, JTI and Fujitsu. The region is continually strengthening its ties with Japan whether it’s through sports, with Manchester City’s recent investment into Yokohama Marinos, or innovative R&D partnerships with Manchester’s universities.