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Thames Valley Open for Business – Japan roundtable

The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce invited 20 Japanese and UK owned businesses with experience of the market to join representatives from the Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI – KANSAI), Osaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry and JETRO to discuss future and ongoing opportunities for collaboration, delivering innovation, R&D and services in the UK’s changing global strategy.

Held at the stunning country setting of Danesfield House Hotel & Spa, Marlow, the roundtable lunch was of interest to businesses in the healthcare, smart energy, creative, gaming, automation and “Internet of Things” marketplace for which Japan has an excellent track record. With a series of high profile speakers, the roundtable proved particularly informative, for attendees.

Mr Kazuhiro Muta, Director at METI – KANSAI opened the forum expressing his gratitude to those attending for not only their ongoing supporting but also in helping develop and sustain the long-term region to region relationship between Kansai and the Thames Valley.

Showcasing the company’s ‘business tourism’ programme, which includes both traditional craftsmanship, food factories and breweries as well as high technology and a city tour guide, he highlighted why the region was proving popular with tourists and business people alike, bringing together business and sight sighting opportunities. His highly entertaining and insightful speech ended with him presenting attendees with traditional Japanese chop sticks.

Strong collaborations between Japanese and Western companies were reviewed by Mr Keisuke Matsumoto, Manager of International Division, Osaka Chamber who presented four individual case studies on robotics. He outlined how Japanese companies were becoming ‘more open to work with startups, entrepreneurs and non-Japanese businesses.’

The final speaker, Nick Henry, Engineering Director at SST Technology, highlighted how the company were working closely with a Japanese agent with had specialist technical expertise and had put them in touch with likeminded customers. Mentioning that whilst it has taken time to establish a presence and build relationships it had been worth it and that ‘perseverance’ and working with ‘experts’ in the field was key.

Masako Eguchi-Bacon, Japan Desk – Market Specialist at the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce commented: “This was a great opportunity to bring together high level speakers and attendees in one room. This included Japanese companies based in the Thames Valley as well as local companies who were or already are interested in pursuing a relationship with Japan. Sharing experiences, best practice and identifying ongoing opportunities were openly discussed and there is scope to engage with the Chamber’s activities over the coming months.”

The Japan desks works extensively with UK businesses to help identify partnerships and strategy agreements wanting to work within the Japanese market. Further information on the Japan desk and how it supports businesses can be found HERE



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Sarah Irving

Head of Marketing & Communications

Direct dial: 01753 870500

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