Mayor’s trade mission to Japan
The Mayor wants to create jobs and make sure London’s economy keeps growing. That’s why this week he’ll be in Japan on a three day trade mission.
Japan is already the capital’s fourth largest investor. Last year, Japan’s trade with London was worth around £950 million. The Mayor hopes to build on this figure by promoting London as a great place to invest. He also wants to strengthen ties between London and Tokyo.
From 13-15 October, the Mayor will meet senior Japanese politicians, business leaders and investors in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. He’ll talk to some of Japan’s most forward thinking and green manufacturers. It will be a great opportunity for both nations to share knowledge and expertise. The Mayor will use the visit to promote London’s skills in life sciences, technology and innovation.
With Japan gearing up to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, the Mayor will also share London’s recent experience of hosting successful world sporting events.
The Mayor began Tuesday in Osaka at the famous Hankyu department store where he visited a special British Fair that dozens of British businesses are using to introduce their products to Japanese consumers. In recent years the fair has achieved 300m yen (£1.6m) of sales in a week, attracting visitors from across the country.
He then used the famous high-speed bullet train to head to Nagoya where he visited Toyota’s HQ. There he announced plans to bring 12 of their brand new Mirai hydrogen powered vehicles to London and took one for a test drive.
The Mayor wants London to be a world leader in the use of clean, green transport and hydrogen powered vehicles emit zero emissions from the tailpipe, just water vapour. The Mirai is the first hydrogen fuel cell sedan vehicle to be commercially mass produced and as such, it’s one of the most advanced cars of its type in the world.
By the end of the year all 12 vehicles are due to be on London’s roads. Four will be used by TfL for essential works between bus stops and Tube stations. The others will be used by private hire fleets, and green minded businesses like ITM Power.
London is leading Europe on work to develop hydrogen refuelling stations and the Mayor’s aim is to double the number of stations in London by the end of next year. Hydrogen cars are also an attractive option for drivers as they’re exempt from London’s congestion charge and pay no vehicle tax.
Later in the evening the Mayor headed to Tokyo where he joined 600 guests as he accompanied Burberry Chief Executive Christopher Bailey to the opening of his new store in Shinjuku. The store is Burberry’s largest to date in Japan as they move to expand the presence of their heritage London designed and British made range in the country.
The Mayor began Wednesday by meeting the President of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and the Governor of Tokyo. He was there to talk about hosting major sport events. Chiefly, how London can help the city prepare to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Olympic Games.
Afterwards, the Mayor visited the Meiji Jingu Shrine for a tea ceremony. This famous Shinto shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meikji and his wife Empress Shoken. He then went on a shopping trip to central Tokyo’s Harajuku district. There he stopped by Lola’s Cupcakes, a London chain that’s been running since 2006. This is their first store in Japan. Already, it’s proving popular.
Next, the Mayor met representatives from Tokyo’s Cogi Cogi bike sharing scheme. He talked about opportunities for UK cycling businesses before heading to Japan’s second biggest city, Yokohama. The Mayor was there for BioJapan 2015, Asia’s leading bioscience event. At the MedCity stand he announced a new partnership between the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and UCL. It will look at why some people develop diseases like Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease. A particular focus will be learning more about the role of genes and genetic mutations in these diseases. The aim is to come up with more effective treatments.
The announcement coincides with a new Strategy& report that shows Japan has invested £160m in the south east’s life sciences sector over the last ten years.
On the last day of his visit to Japan the Mayor met senior representatives of Mitsubishi Motors. He was there to talk about the Mitsubishi Outlander, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that’s a real game-changer and has proved more popular in London, than anywhere else in the world. The Mayor has prioritised the infrastructure needed to support the rise in ultra low emission vehicles over the next 10 years, with plans for thousands of charging points to suit different owners’ needs across London. And DVLA figures show London is well on its way to being the ultra-low emission vehicle capital of Europe. After the meeting, the Mayor took to Tokyo’s streets to test drive Mitsubishi’s new Outlander PHEV, which launches this week in the UK.
Another area in which London is a world leader is financial technology. The Mayor headed to an event at the British Ambassador’s home in Tokyo to find out how Japanese firms are ideally placed to work with London’s booming fin-tech sector in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The Mayor also joined rugby fans and schoolchildren for a game of street rugby in Chuo-ku, Tokyo. The sport is played on closed public streets and is becoming increasingly popular in Japan. With the English and Japanese wheelchair rugby teams playing each other in London tonight, the Mayor also used the opportunity to call on rugby leaders to ensure both versions of the sport are given equal billing at future events.