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First large business delegation from Japan since EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement came into force visits North Rhine-Westphalia

  • Purpose of the trip: Exploration of the startup ecosystem in North Rhine-Westphalia and talks about an IoT cooperation

At the beginning of February, a Japanese delegation comprising representatives from 70 large Japanese corporations and startups is visiting Paris and North Rhine-Westphalia on the topic of "Promoting startups as engines of digitization". North Rhine-Westphalia is welcoming the first large business delegation from Japan since the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan came into force on 1 February, 2019. And for the first time, a corporate delegation from Japan is focusing on the topic of startups. In addition to the Digital Demo Day 2019 in Düsseldorf, excursions to Essen and Aachen are on the agenda in Germany to provide an overview of the startup ecosystem in NRW.

On 7 February, 2019, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) will hold a seminar for Japanese and German companies at the Hotel InterContinental in Düsseldorf. The focus will be on the development and promotion of interesting startup hotspots in NRW/Germany and the resulting opportunities for cooperation between Japanese and German companies and startups. The event will be interpreted simultaneously into Japanese and German. Subsequently, the participants will have an opportunity for intensive networking.

In 2017, on the occasion of Japan's participation as CeBIT partner country, the two countries already issued a joint declaration ("Hanover Declaration") in the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chancellor Angela Merkel in relation to the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises in the IoT sector. Since then, Japan and Germany have engaged in a regular exchange on the opportunities for cooperation on the future topics of innovation and digitization.

These topics were also very high on the agenda during Chancellor Merkel's visit to Japan, accompanied by an economic delegation, from 3 to 5 February 2019. In addition, there is also a close exchange with Japan at federal state level. The foreign trade development agencies NRW.INVEST, NRW.International and JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) signed a Memorandum of Understanding under the aegis of NRW Economic Affairs Minister Pinkwart to further intensify their cooperation in the IoT and startup areas.

Facilitators of the delegation visit: Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of NRW, NRW.INVEST, City of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Digital Innovation Hub Düsseldorf/Rhineland, EWG-Essen Economic Development Agency, AGIT Aachen Agency for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Japanese Chamber of Industry and Commerce Düsseldorf, Japanese Consulate General and other relevant organizations and companies.