First Minister Mark Drakeford is flying to Japan from Cardiff Airport today to lead a trade mission alongside the Rugby World Cup.
Japan is an important market for Wales and the trade mission will introduce 17 Welsh companies to potential business partners and explore new opportunities to grow their exports.
The Welsh Government plans to build on Wales’ growing trade with Japan by harnessing interest in the tournament and the Welsh rugby team.
Welsh exports to Japan have risen significantly in recent years, with £1 billion worth of Welsh goods heading to Japan over the last 5 years. Welsh exports to Japan were worth almost £250 million in 2018 – up 25% on 2017.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“The Rugby World Cup offers a unique opportunity to draw attention to Wales. Wales and Japan have long been close business partners, and we’re looking forward to exploring the opportunities this trade mission will bring to cement links and build on the strong relationship which exists between our 2 nations.
“The thriving partnership we have with Japan dates back almost 50 years, when Takiron opened a PVC factory in Bedwas, South Wales.
“Fast-forward to today and 60 Japanese-owned companies, including Sony, Sharp, Toyota, Kasai Kogyo and Yuasa Battery have a presence in Wales and employ more than 6,000 people. Our trading relationship continues to go from strength to strength, with Welsh exports to Japan standing at £250 million in 2018, up 25% from 2017.
“Wales has a rich and diverse business heritage and is home to a wide range of innovative and highly-regarded companies. We are very proud to be supporting this delegation, which provides high-quality goods and services across various sectors, in establishing and strengthening ties with Japanese businesses and driving growth through exports.
“Whatever the shape of the UK’s future relationship with the EU - our message to our Japanese friends is that we remain committed to retaining and growing our links here.”
The First Minister will speak at an event at Ty Cymru/ Wales Dome which will bring together cyber security professionals including the cyber security leads from some of Japan’s biggest companies. The cyber security sector in Wales is one of the largest clusters in the UK, with over 200 companies in Wales working in cyber.
While in Japan, the First Minister will also support the promotion of Wales as a tourist destination at an event held jointly with the Japan Association of Travel Agents.
Since 2015 the number of package tourist visits to Wales from Japan have increased from zero in 2015/16 to 5,369 in 2018/19.
The First Minister and the British Ambassador to Japan will jointly host a reception, which will bring together over a 100 guests to welcome the trade mission to Japan, and celebrate the broad and deep routed Wales-Japan relationship.
A number of events, including a broad cultural programme will show Japanese hosts and international visitors the many other things that are great about Wales as well as great rugby.