Since the traditional New Year's reception for the Japanese business community had to be cancelled this year due to Corona, the state capital Düsseldorf and the state-owned foreign trade promotion agency NRW.Global Business as hosts, together with the Japanese Embassy, created a joint video message and sent it via New Year's cards with a QR code. Despite the special circumstances, it was very important to the initiators to send their New Year's greetings to the Japanese business community in the state digitally. To optimize viewing on smartphones, the video was created in 9:16 portrait format. The video can be viewed on the Internet under the following link: www.neujahrsgruss-japan.de.
Mayor Dr. Stephan Keller: "Particularly in times of the Corona pandemic, the importance of the trusting cooperation between the city of Düsseldorf and the Japanese community is evident. The Japanese people living and working here have been able to rely on the support of the city’s institutions, especially the Japan Desk at the Office of Economic Development. Also thanks to this wide-ranging support, a number of Japanese companies were able to successfully launch their businesses in Düsseldorf last year despite the pandemic."
The attraction of Düsseldorf and North Rhine-Westphalia as locations for Japanese companies remains strong despite the Corona restrictions: In 2020, there were a total of over 40 new settlement and expansion projects in North Rhine-Westphalia. Around 30 Japanese companies relocated to the state capital last year. The fact that Düsseldorf now has a total of around 410 Japanese companies demonstrates the close economic partnership. With around 650 Japanese companies, North Rhine-Westphalia is also the largest investment location for Japanese companies in continental Europe. The close ties are also reflected in the population figures. Around 8,500 Japanese people currently live in Düsseldorf, and almost 15,000 in the whole of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia: "Especially in such challenging times, you realize how important a strong, local support network is. Due to the close ties between North Rhine-Westphalia and Japan, our location has a unique infrastructure with long-standing partners such as the Japanese Consulate General, JETRO or the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Together with our newly established foreign trade promotion agency NRW.Global Business, we are committed to further expanding this special network."
Digital alternatives to networking this year
In the first quarter of 2021, the activities of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organisation) and digihub (Digital Innovation Hub Düsseldorf/Rheinland GmbH) to connect Japanese start-ups with companies from the Düsseldorf region are also in full swing with the support of the economic development agency.
However, due to the current circumstances, it will not be possible to hold Japan Day 2021 in the tried and tested form. The organizers – the city, the state and the Japanese community – are currently working on a corona-compliant event concept that will include numerous smaller events. The Japan Business Day with the focus on innovative logistics will be held as a virtual event on 27 May.
In addition, 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Japan. In Düsseldorf, as the Japanese center of Germany, there will also be some activities to mark this, which will be coordinated in accordance with current circumstances.
Hidenao Yanagi, Japanese Ambassador to Germany: "This year we are celebrating the 160th anniversary of the exchange between Japan and Germany, and we would like to take the opportunity to strengthen our already friendly relations through various events in Japan and Germany, despite the Corona restrictions. That is also why I hope that Japan Day can be organized this year in particular. Furthermore, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are planned in Japan, and I hope that the close exchange in the area of sports will also further enhance the contacts between our two countries."
Background: City and state economic development
The city’s Economic Development Office and the state-owned foreign trade promotion agency NRW.Global Business support foreign and German companies in their investment projects and settlement in Düsseldorf and North Rhine-Westphalia throughout the entire settlement process and on all location issues. At the state level, NRW.Global Business – just like the Economic Development Office at the city level – has the task of marketing North Rhine-Westphalia internationally as an investment location and attracting foreign direct investment to North Rhine-Westphalia.