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NRW celebrates: 25 years of NRW Japan K.K. in Tokyo

Düsseldorf/Tokyo, 27. December 2017 - About 70 guests from business and politics are today celebrating at the Industrieclub Düsseldorf to mark the 25th anniversary of NRW Japan K.K. It was founded in 1992 as the first foreign subsidiary of the state-owned economic development agency NRW.INVEST in Tokyo. The aim was and is to advise Japanese companies locating in North Rhine-Westphalia and to expand cooperation at an economic level, in industrial research and development as well as in science and research.

"Japan and North Rhine-Westphalia have long-standing, close economic ties. The foundation of NRW Japan K.K. was a major step towards deepening our successful partnership," says Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. "We should further intensify German-Japanese cooperation for the benefit of technological progress, especially on important future topics such as digitization, Industry 4.0, electric mobility, renewable energy and medical technology."

Over the past 25 years, NRW Japan K.K. has accompanied Japanese companies settling in North Rhine-Westphalia. Today, there are more than 600 Japanese companies based in NRW. These include renowned firms such as Asahi Kasai, Canon, Cyberdyne Care Robotics, Denso Automotive, Fujifilm, Hitachi, Makita, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Nippon Express, Shiseido, Takasago, Toppan, Toshiba, Toyota and Yakult. "At that time, many Japanese companies wanted to venture into Europe. This was our chance to present the location in Japan and to advise and support Japanese companies directly on site. Today, North Rhine-Westphalia is the most important location for Japanese companies on the European mainland," explains Petra Wassner, CEO of NRW. INVEST. "The establishment of the Japanese business community is the result of many years of cooperation between numerous partners in Japan and NRW."

In the 1990s, companies in particular from the electrical engineering and semiconductor industries to begin with, and later also from the chemical, environmental technology and renewable energies sectors, invested here. The 2000s were dominated by the topics life science and medical technology as well as the establishment of collaborations in research and development between universities and colleges. "North Rhine-Westphalia has developed into an important R&D location for Japanese business operating outside of their home country," explains Georg K. Löer, Director and President of NRW Japan K.K. "And in view of digital transformation, Japanese companies from the fields of electric mobility, robotics and artificial intelligence are currently showing particular interest in NRW."

The core tasks of NRW K.K. are to market NRW as a business location in Japan and to support Japanese companies with their plans to establish a business in NRW. The team of experts provides interested companies with information about NRW, its surroundings and investment climate, legal and social framework conditions, cities and locations, trade fairs and market opportunities. In doing so, they advise companies on their way to North Rhine-Westphalia. With regular events in Japan and NRW, often in cooperation with cities, regions and scientific and business-related organizations, NRW.INVEST continues to expand its economic relations with Japan.