Mayor of London heads to Japan to boost trade

11 October 2015

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is leading a trade mission to Japan, one of the world’s most important global economies. The visit is part of his continued drive to create jobs and growth in the capital by strengthening ties with world cities like Tokyo and promoting London to the world as a major investment destination.


Over three days (October 13-15), the Mayor will meet with senior Japanese politicians, business leaders, investors and some of Japan’s most innovative and green thinking manufacturers in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. He will promote life sciences, tech and innovation, and champion London’s big brand retail exports. As Japan gears up to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, he will share London’s expertise in hosting major world sporting events.


Japan is the world’s third largest economy, while the UK is the top European destination for Japanese investment. Last year alone, Japan was the fourth largest investor in London with enormous potential to become an even more important partner. Since 2003, Japan has invested close to £500 billion in almost 12,000 foreign projects, creating 2.6 million jobs around the world. In 2014, trade with the capital totalled almost £950million and the Mayor is keen to build on this.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Japan is one of the world’s most important economic powerhouses with enormous potential for stronger partnerships with the capital. We have plenty of knowledge and expertise to share across many important sectors, including hosting major world sporting events. This is our chance to loudly bang the drum for London, strengthen our ties with Japan, and secure the long standing relationships we need to create an abundance of opportunities for Londoners and the people of Japan to work more closely and collaboratively in the future.“


In Tokyo, the Mayor will meet the Minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toshiaki Endo, and the Governor of Tokyo Yoichi Masuzoe. They will discuss the potential for greater collaboration and investment opportunities with London, especially around hosting major world sporting events, and the key issues facing growing world cities. The Mayor will be joined by the Chief Executive of the London Legacy Delivery Corporation, David Goldstone.


In recent years London has become a world beater in hosting major global sports events. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has already left a lasting legacy of sports participation and led to the complete regeneration of the Stratford area around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, creating new homes, schools, arts and business space, and first class sporting facilities. Currently, the 2015 Rugby World Cup has got off to a triumphant start, with record match attendances and in 2017, the capital will host the World Athletics Championships and the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships, held in parallel for the very first time.


With a population of more than 13 million, Tokyo is the largest metropolitan economy in the world. Alongside London and New York, it is one of the world’s three economic command centres. The Mayor will also spend time in Osaka, Japan’s second metropolis, with a population of approaching 3 million. He will help champion some of London’s greatest export brands from food to fashion, including Burberry and British brands at Hankyu, Osaka’s own equivalent to Selfridges.


In Yokohama, the Mayor will address Asia’s largest biotechnology event, BioJapan, which attracts thousands of representatives from some 700 of the world’s leading bio-science companies every year. Japan is the second largest investor in London’s life science sector over the last 10 years, and our two countries are facing similar healthcare and demographic challenges. London’s unique position as a world class financial centre and home to some of the world’s top universities and medical institutions is creating the perfect location to translate the most cutting-edge science into real life benefits for patients, where the number of new jobs in life sciences has tripled in the last year.


Banging the drum for the capital’s burgeoning bio-science industry, the Mayor will be accompanied by leading academics from MedCity, an organisation he launched in 2014 to promote and lead the growth of the world-leading life sciences cluster in London and the South East of England. He will also join a business delegation of London’s leading bio-science companies. Together they will promote London’s expertise in cell and gene therapy and regenerative medicine.


While in Japan, the Mayor will visit some of the country’s leading manufacturers of greener transport. Manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment make up the bulk of existing trade between London and Japan, with over 160 Japanese research and development projects underway in the UK. The Mayor is leading Europe in creating a market for the cleanest new vehicles by introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020. The Mayor will visit motoring manufacturers Toyota and Mitsubishi to discuss the potential for a cleaner and greener transport future.


The Mayor will also turn a spotlight on London’s world-beating financial technology industry. From contactless and mobile payments on London’s transport and high streets to the latest financial transaction apps, the capital’s FinTech sector is growing faster than anywhere else in the world. It now employs more than 44,000 people and the industry generates around £20 billion in annual revenue across the UK. The Mayor will join the Chair of London’s Tech City, Eileen Burbidge, and Barclays Chief Digital Officer Derek White, to share London’s expertise and highlight the opportunities to grow this area in Japan.

Notes to editors

  • The Mayor’s trade mission to Japan is part of his continued drive to create jobs and growth in the capital by strengthening ties with Tokyo and promoting London to the world as a major investment destination.

  • The UK is the top ranking destination for Japanese investment in Europe, accounting for about 30 per cent of the total. 1,300 Japanese companies enjoy a presence in the UK, and they directly employ over 140,000 people. Since 2003, 2,525 Japanese foreign direct investment projects have landed in Europe, constituting an estimated £63bn of capital expenditure and creating 299,800 jobs. The UK is the leading market attracting 432 projects (17 per cent of the total) creating 37,100 jobs.

  • Recent Japanese projects in London include the world’s largest solar-powered bridge in Blackfriars led by Panasonic in 2012, Hitachi’s Olympic Javelin train in 2009, and developments such as Mitsubishi Estate’s £180million home of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills at 1 Victoria Street, and the £200million redevelopment of the former BBC Television Centre at White City by Mitsui Fudosan UK. London is also becoming increasingly popular as a location for Japanese European Head Quarters. Last year, Hitachi moved their world Rail HQ to London to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by rail projects in the UK and Europe.

  • Around 160 companies are conducting research and development in the UK, often in conjunction with universities. Hitachi, Toshiba, Nissan, Honda and Toyota between them are responsible for the renaissances in the British rail, nuclear and automotive industries, clearly demonstrating their trust in the UK as a business location, its skilled workforce and excellence in technology and manufacturing.

  • The Mayor’s trip to Japan is one of a number of visits he is undertaking to key overseas markets, including the Far East and China, both of which he has visited in the past two years. The aim of the visits is to attract foreign investment, promote export, and create jobs in the capital while ensuring London’s status as a leading global city, boosting cultural ties and building on the huge exposure London received as a result of hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Rugby World Cup and other major world sporting events.

  • The Mayor’s trips are supported by his official promotional organisation for the capital, London & Partners. L&P aims to attract and deliver value to business, students and visitors. It is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and a network of commercial partners. Please visit for more information.

  • The Mayor’s Export Programme plays a key role in helping small and medium sized enterprises in the capital take advantage of foreign markets, working alongside UK Trade and Investment to deliver the programme.