Preparations are underway for the 20th anniversary of the relationship between Toyota City and Derbyshire, led by the local authorities: Toyota City Council in Japan, and South Derbyshire District Council, Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council in the UK.
The anniversary comes at a significant time for the UK and its international relationships. In this context, the partnership between Derbyshire and Toyota City may be seen as an exemplar of how local government in the UK and Japan can deliver jobs and prosperity for their respective areas.
“The partnership between Derbyshire and Toyota City is a commitment that has stood the test of time. Through the political will and personal commitment of successive politicians and senior officers, who have ‘carried the torch’, a relationship built upon trust has been formed. This has provided the basis for business to thrive through good and bad global economic times.
The partnership provides a solid platform for ‘business to do business’, with this continuity creating an environment in which business is more likely to endure. A long term commitment enables future planning by companies and local authorities – seen in investment in skills and facilities, and in homes and infrastructure – leading to mutual benefits and wealth creation for both individuals and businesses.
The importance of personal relationships in the success of the partnership cannot be underestimated. The establishment of political and executive officer commitment, the development of trust and a willingness to understand each other’s barriers to progress and how to overcome them – have all been key factors; Together with the celebration of mutual success at every opportunity along the journey.”
Frank McArdle, Chief Executive of South Derbyshire District Council
The 20th anniversary also comes at the start of an important period for Toyota City on the international stage. Rugby World Cup Japan in 2019 will see the City of Toyota Stadium as one of the 12 match venues. Toyota City has also achieved registration as a host town for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics 2020 as part of the Host Town Initiative welcoming athletes and staff from competing nations. It is another opportunity to share experiences. The UK hosted the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015 and the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. South Derbyshire in particular hosted the Australian and Canadian badminton teams’ Pre-Games Training Camp for London 2012.
The international relationship between Derbyshire and Toyota City was formalised in 1998 following the announcement of the new vehicle plant at Burnaston and formation of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) in 1989, with car production commencing in 1992. Since 1998 the relationship has led to the development of numerous cultural and economic links including the establishment of ongoing relationships with organisations such as Burton & South Derbyshire College, the National Forest Company and Repton School (the latter with Toyota Nishi High School).