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Ireland’s first Invest Japan Seminar held in Dublin

June 2017

On June 14, 2017, JETRO took advantage of the momentous occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Japan by holding the country’s first Invest Japan Seminar in Dublin, under the theme of “Rising Opportunities – 60 Years On.” The seminar started with a passionate call to participants by Japanese Ambassador to Ireland Mari Miyoshi: “In the midst of growing momentum toward an agreement on an EPA between the EU and Japan, we will spare no effort in helping Irish companies expand business in Japan.”

Executive Director Michel Kennedy of the Royal Irish Academy made his opening remarks by giving an overview of economic and trade relations between Ireland and Japan over the last 60 years and declaring that their close economic ties would grow ever stronger in the future.

In his keynote speech, Executive Vice President Koji Yonetani of JETRO introduced the attractiveness of Japan as an investment destination, explaining Japan’s improving investment environment through structural reforms and decreasing business costs. He also spoke on recent trends of doing business in Japan from the viewpoint of foreign companies, as well as business opportunities in the fields of FinTech and renewable energy, areas in which Irish companies are competitive. He heartily emphasized the advantages of Japan as “a gateway to mainland Asia.”

Investment into Japan by Irish companies

Presentations were then made by representatives from three Irish companies operating in Japan and Enterprise Ireland, an Irish government organization tasked with promoting commerce, to give a detailed image of what investment in Japan looks like.

Group Executive Joe Redmond of FEXCO, a foreign exchange settlement company, encouraged participants to develop an understanding of the particularities of Japanese culture as well as to make active use of public sector agencies such as JETRO. Chief Communications Officer Brendan Corr of OpenHydro, described his company’s Goto Tidal Demonstration Project, a tidal turbine system installed off the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, and stressed the importance of collaboration with Japanese companies, universities and research institutes.

From Daon, an innovator in developing and deploying biometric authentication and identity assurance solutions worldwide, the President of the EMEA and APAC regions, Clive Bourke, introduced his company’s business solutions for Japan, including fingerprint authentication technology used for immigration control, and touted the advantages of joint ventures which enable access to large-scale markets at low cost.

The final speaker, Manager Eddie Hughes of the Dairy, Functional Foods/Ingredients, Beverages and Food Brexit Team at Enterprise Ireland covered trends and case studies of Irish food companies, and provided specific advice on how to enter the Japanese market.

Great interest in investment in Japan

Following the presentations, all speakers took part in a panel discussion moderated by IP Strategist and Council Member of Ireland Japan Association (IJA) Raymond Hegarty. In the Q&A session, attendees had more questions for panelists than there was time to answer, indicating great interest in doing business in Japan. Speaking from experience, the representatives from the Irish companies emphasized the following:

  • While the Japanese market is extremely unique, great success can be expected once a company attains a foothold.
  • It is important not to underestimate the Japanese market and to proactively understand Japanese business culture.
  • One should seek assistance from JETRO or IE when entering Japan.

During the networking reception, JETRO staff members responded to specific inquiries from many Irish companies regarding investment in Japan.

Outline of the seminar

Date and Time Thursday, June 1, 2017 14:30-18:30 (including networking reception from 17:00 to 18:30)
Venue Marker Hotel
Organizer Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Sponsor  Embassy of Japan in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland (EI)
Ireland Japan Association (IJA)
Participants 75 people (including 2 from media outlets)
Program Opening remarks: Mari Miyoshi, Japanese Ambassador to Ireland
Opening presentation: Dr. Michael Kennedy, Executive Director, Royal Irish Academy
Keynote speech: Koji Yonetani, Executive Vice President, JETRO
Company presentation: Joe Redmond, Group Executive, FEXCO
Company presentation : Brendan Corr, CCO, Open Hydro
Company presentation : Clive Bourke, President, EMEA & APAC, Daon
Presentation: Eddie Hughes, Dairy Functional Foods/Ingredients, beverages & Food, Brexit Team, EI
Panel discussion (all above speakers) and Q&A (with audience), moderated by Raymond Hegarty, IP Strategist, IJA Council Member
Networking reception