The North East has been celebrating 150 years of trade between the UK and Japan at a special ceremony in Saltwell Park.
Delegates from across the region met for a celebratory event in Gateshead to mark the occasion and help strengthen existing links even further.
Dignitaries including Gateshead Mayor Cllr John Eagle and the Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh, Mr Suganuma, led the celebrations in Saltwell Towers.
The North East has significant links with Japan comprising more than 50 inward investors including huge firms like Nissan and Komatsu.
Cllr Mick Henry, leader of Gateshead Council and chair of the Association of North East Councils (ANEC) said:
“Japanese investment in the North East has been important but it has also enriched the social fabric of the region. This is a chance to celebrate and reflect on the cultural and educational impact Japanese business has brought to communities across the North East.
“Looking to the future, I think we can be confident that the relationship will continue to develop and strengthen. Here in Gateshead, Komatsu City are building a Japanese garden in Saltwell Park that will be officially opened in 2011 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the relationship with Gateshead.”