Japan-UK Business Forum and conclusion of MOC with UK Department for International Trade by welcoming Prime Minister May

August 2017

Emphasizing importance of UK-Japan partnership in global business

On August 31, taking the occasion of the British Prime Minister May's visit to Japan, UK Department for International Trade and JETRO jointly held the Japan-UK Business Forum in Tokyo. After the speeches by the Prime Ministers Theresa May and Shinzo Abe, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox and JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige in the presence of both leaders.

At the beginning, Secretary Fox stated that knowledge and innovation will bring economic success in the future and promote productivity improvement for the two countries which have scarce natural resources, citing common points between Japan and the UK, both of which are developed countries built on trade which promote free trade and a free market.

Prime Minister Abe stressed that the UK is an important location for Japanese companies in terms of manufacturing, marketing and R&D in Europe. He continued, activities by Japanese companies, which in total have approximately 1,000 business sites in the UK, have contributed to the its economy in many fields through the creation of innovation based on advanced technologies, while also providing various systems which sustain the society.

British Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned the setup of working groups on trade and investment as well as the establishment of a forum for dialogue on industrial policy in the fields of aviation, aerospace and life science. Regarding the Japan-EU EPA, she expressed her support for the early conclusion of the agreement with hopes for it to be used as the basis for an EPA between Japan and the UK soon after Brexit.

Speech by Prime Minister May

Signing ceremony of MOC in the presence of British and Japanese Prime Ministers

Discussion on innovation through partnership and sports events

The Japan-UK Business Forum was joined by about 200 business people from the UK and Japan. After an introduction by Chairman Ishige of JETRO, Mr Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman of Hitachi explained his company's activities in the UK in his keynote speech, including its railway business and the "Global Center for Social Innovation-Europe" established in London in order to conduct R&D.

During the forum, two panel discussions were held regarding innovation. In the first session, under the theme of "partnership," companies active in the fields of nuclear power generation and software engaged in a discussion on the environment of energy regulation, innovation and process management, as well as obstructive factors for innovation. In the second session, under the theme of "sports events," companies operating in the fields of IoT and pharmaceuticals introduced some innovative technologies in connection with the Olympic and Paralympic Games such as those for face recognition and doping inspection. The forum ended with closing remarks by JETRO Executive Vice President Yonetani and former British Ambassador Sir David Wright.

Discussion session

Closing remarks by JETRO Vice Executive President Yonetani

Japan-UK Business Forum

Date and time Thursday, August 31, 2017, from 14:40 – 17:00
Place: Tokyo
Organizer: UK Department for International Trade
Co-organizer: Japan External Trade Organization
Participants: Approx. 200 people
From 14:10
Opening remarks:
Liam Fox MP, UK Secretary of State for International Trade
Guest speech:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
British Prime Minister Theresa May
MOC signing ceremony
Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade
Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO of JETRO,
From 14:25
Keynote speech 1
Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman and CEO, Hitachi 
From 14:35
Business Panel 1:
Innovation through Partnership
  1. Cambridge Consultants/Hitachi partnership
    AJ Van Bochhoven, Head of Strategy & Innovation
  2. Marubeni/Smartest Energy partnership
    Masumi Kakinoki, Chief Executive Officer, Power Business & Plant Group, Marubeni Corporation
  3. Cavendish Nuclear partnership
    Simon Bowen, Chief Executive, Cavendish Nuclear Ltd
  4. Infoteria/This Place partnership
    Pina Hirano, Founder & CEO, Infoteria Corporation
From 15:40
Keynote speech 2
Rina Akiyama, gold medalist in the women’s back stroke, London 2012 Paralympics
Business Panel 2:
Innovation through Major Sporting Events
  1. Nobuhiro Endo, Chairman of the Board, NEC Corporation
  2. Kanako Kikuchi, President and Representative Director, GlaxoSmithKline KK
  3. Manami Yuasa, Head of Arts, British Council
From 16:45
Closing remarks:
Koji Yonetani, Executive Vice President, JETRO
Sir David Wright, Senior Advisor at Barclays International, former British Ambassador to Japan