Japan’s UK Ambassador, Hayashi Hajime and the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford MS, will co-host a reception at the Japanese Embassy in London today, 14 December 2022 to mark 50 years of Japan – Wales Economic Relations.
The first major Japanese investment in Wales was initiated by Takiron (now Takiron C.I.) in 1972.
There are currently over 60 Japanese owned companies operating in Wales – Calbee, Jtekt, Panasonic, Shoda Sauces, Sony, Toyota and Yuasa Battery, to name but a few – employing over 7,500 people.
Japan is currently Wales’s second largest inward investment donor.
In 2021 Welsh exports to Japan were worth £194.9 million; this was around 5.1 per cent less than in 2020 and meant it was our 13th largest export market.
Despite the decrease, some of which can be attributed to the pandemic, the most recent statistics are showing encouraging signs of recovery. For the first two quarters of 2022. Welsh exports to Japan showed an increase when compared with their corresponding quarters in 2021.
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 Rugby World Cup in 2019 saw over 53,000 Welsh fans travel to Japan to participate in and be enthralled by the tournament. Many Japanese people supported the Welsh team and learnt to sing the Welsh National Anthem and Calon Lan as a mark of respect and support.
In the last two years 1,000 cherry trees have been planted all over Wales as a mark of friendship from the people of Japan to the people of Wales as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project. The trees are a strong symbol of friendship that can be supported and enjoyed by future generations.
Among those attending the reception will be members of Boys Aloud who will sing to the specially invited Japanese and Welsh guests.