JLGC News Summer 2017

Change of Director at JLGC

15 Whitehall

15 Whitehall Office

JLGC Director Mr Kazuya Shima, here in London 2014-2017, returns to Japan and a position at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the Japanese government department with responsibility for local government.  Mr Shima is replaced by our new director Mr Yoshiyuki Kurono, also dispatched from MIC who has previously had a variety of positions in prefectures such as Toyama and Ishikawa.

We thank Mr Shima for his three years and his contribution to the London office, and welcome Mr Kurono to the UK in what promises to be a very interesting time for his secondment.  We’d like to thank all our partners for supporting our directors and look forward to the opportunity for Mr Kurono to meet colleagues at future events around the country.

Japantag in Düsseldorf & Experience Japan Dublin

JLGC made an annual trip to Düsseldorf for ‘Japantag’, and Dublin for the increasingly popular Experience Japan Festival in the city’s Phoenix Park.  Japan Tag which took place in May has been held regularly in May/June in the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2002 seeing up to 750,000 people attending in recent years to become a major highlight in the annual Düsseldorf event calendar. Experience Japan in Dublin in April this year was launched by current Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar.  Mr Varadkar launched the EJ Festival in the beautiful grounds of Farmleigh House on 23rd April last in front of a crowd of 35,000 people.

JLGC promotes Japan’s regions and cities every year at both of these events, working with Japanese local authorities, collating PR material with our offices in Tokyo and throughout Japan’s 47 prefectures. Information is then provided to the public attending events, with the handing out of local area maps and guides, as well as free gifts promoting regions, while doing market research into perceptions about Japan as a tourist destination and what tourists look at when considering holiday destinations

Rugby Borough Council visits Kyoto for Rugby World Cup 2019 draw

JLGC assisted Rugby Borough Council on a visit to Japan for the RWC draw in Kyoto.  Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, and Adam Norburn, Executive Director, attended the pool draw in Kyoto in Japan on Wednesday 10 May as guests of World Rugby, in a move aimed at promoting the borough of Rugby as a destination to Japanese visitors.

While in Japan Cllr Stokes and Mr Norburn through an arrangement by JLGC also met the Mayor of Kyoto and the Chairman of the organising committee for Rugby World Cup 2019, as well as representatives of Japanese host cities and potential sponsors for the World Rugby Hall of Fame. They were also interviewed by Japanese media, giving them a unique opportunity to talk about the origins of the game in front of a global audience.

The trip follows a successful visit to Rugby by a delegation from Japan during Rugby World Cup 2015, when the borough council hosted a visit from the city of Kumamoto. That study trip was aimed at showing Japan 2019 host cities how to operate a successful Fanzone while also sharing Rugby’s unique heritage, and resulted in thousands of pounds being spent in the local economy in the borough.

Tokushima-Lower Saxony Friendship agreements activities

A group headed by Governor Kamon Iizumi from Tokushima Prefecture was assisted by JLGC staff on a public visit to the German Federal State of Lower Saxony in April, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of friendship relations between the two regions.  The group also plans to further economic links and cooperation over the registering of the WW1 Bandō prisoner-of-war camp in Naruto City which is in Tokushima as a UNESCO world heritage site, where German POWs captured during the Battle of Tsingtao lived in an atmosphere of comparative freedom.

The Bandō camp also claims to be the first place in Asia where Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, now a staple of orchestras and amateur choruses nationwide, was performed.

The group was made up of members from a range of different areas such as education, economics and sports including the leader of the council assembly and head of the education board.  As well as the members of this group promoting the prefecture’s overseas trade, a troupe of 30 Awa-odori dancers took part in the opening ceremony of the new exhibition at a Luneburg city museum, twinned with Naruto City, themed on the Bandō prisoner-of-war camp.

The group also visited a sports federation within the German state with the aim of attracting competitors to training grounds in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Also, there was an appearance at the ‘Hanover Messe 2017’ industrial technology fair to see the stand organised by the prefecture.   The Head of the State of Hannover Mister Stefan Weil, and the State Minister for Economy were invited to see LED products and indigo goods from the prefecture.

Fukushima booth at OECD

JLGC Staff seconded from Fukushima Prefecture attended a forum session at the OECD in Paris in June, where a reception was held for attendees and produce from the prefecture.  The forum was held at the headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris from June 6 to 7. Fukushima Prefecture set up a booth at the reception held jointly on the 6th and PR for prefectural products was done.

Fukushima Prefecture plated sushi using prefecture-produced rice called “Ten-no-Tsubu” (grains from heaven) as well as eight kinds of sake and peach juice, with the aim of dispelling damaging disinformation caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Fukushima prefecture booth, welcomed many of the experts and participants giving lectures at the OECD Forum with a long queue asking for sushi and sake.

Some of those who drank sake said this is the first delicious sake they had drunk.  Sake was thought ‘to have a high alcohol content, and to be hard to drink, but it went down easily’ as some guests commented. Others also commented that the fragrance was very excellent. When told that it was all made in Fukushima Prefecture many expressed their support and wished the prefecture the best of luck for the reconstruction.

JLGC in London and the CLAIR Paris office continue to support the reconstruction in the aftermath of the earthquake disaster through promoting links and trade with the UK and Europe at events throughout the year.