A Monmouthshire man from Shirenewton in Chepstow, Keith Dunn, OBE has been re-appointed by the Japanese Government to continue in office as their Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales, for the next four years.
Speaking following the announcement he said:
“I could not be more delighted to have been re-appointed by Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. My mission is a simple one to build on what has already been achieved and to continue strengthening the strong relationship that exists between Wales and Japan”.
It is possible to trace ties between both countries as far back as the end of the 19th century. As the process of industrial development unfolded in Japan, the Welsh industries of coal and steel helped to foster relations between our two countries.
There are currently over 60 Japanese owned companies operating in Wales – Sony, Sharp, Toyota, GS Yuasa, Princes Soft Drinks to name but a few – employing over 8,400 people.
Welsh exports to Japan have risen significantly in recent years, with £1 billion worth of Welsh goods heading to Japan over the last 5 years. In 2020 Welsh exports to Japan were worth more than £218 million and imports to Wales from Japan £521 million. 3.7% of Wales’s imports come from Japan.
Some of the produce that Wales exports to Japan include: Welsh lamb, Anglesey sea salt, Carmarthen ham, Conwy mussels, Pembrokeshire early potatoes, traditional Welsh Caerphilly cheese, traditional Welsh cider, laver bread, Welsh beef, Welsh wine, bottled water and Welsh Whisky.
The eyes of the world were again on Japan last year (2021), when athletes from all over the world converged on its shores as Tokyo played host to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Japan – UK Season of Culture initiative has also seen 1,000 cherry trees being planted all over Wales, as a gift of friendship from the people of Japan to the people of Wales as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project.
Mr Dunn added
“There is much to celebrate and I believe the bonds that already exist between Wales and Japan will become even more important in the post Brexit years and be strengthened through the Japan – UK Trade agreement that has recently been agreed. As an Honorary Consul my duties include providing support for Japanese companies, promoting an understanding of Japan, helping Japanese citizens in emergencies, oversee cultural events and fostering cordial relations with various organisations and regional authorities and working closely with the Embassy of Japan in London”.
Mr Dunn also currently heads up the Consular Association in Wales as its President. The Association helps further the commercial, academic and cultural activities of Wales around the world. The following countries are represented by Honorary Consuls which includes: Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand.
He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2011, in recognition of his services to Health Care in Wales. He is an Associate Hospital Manager, (Mental Health) for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, a Community Councillor for Shirenewton Community Council a Community Governor for Shirenewton Primary and Chepstow Schools, a member of Monmouthshire County Council’s schools admission and appeals panel and a Trustee of the Monmouthshire Building Society Charitable Foundation