Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
Last week I visited Japan in order to promote and develop investment and trading links between our two countries. Some 50 Japanese companies are active in Wales and these directly employ more than 6,000 people. The relationship between Wales and Japan is warm and this continues to be one of our most important foreign partnerships.
Innovative Japanese companies have been investing in Wales for more than 40 years. During my visit I met Toyota, Hitachi, Sony, Toyoda, G-Tekt, and others. Many Japanese firms have demonstrated their faith in the Welsh workforce over many years and I used the opportunity to emphasise the Welsh Government’s equal commitment to long term partnership.
I was particularly pleased to meet Hitachi to discuss their investment plans in nuclear energy on Ynys Môn. Subject to approvals from UK regulatory authorities, and agreement with the UK Government on energy price strategy, Hitachi’s investment in Wylfa has the potential to be one of Wales’ most important inward investments. There will be a significant role for the Welsh Government in supporting this investment through a range of micro-economic actions.
My visit ran in parallel to a trade mission of companies, supported by the Welsh Government, looking either to grow their trade with Japan or to enter the Japanese market for the first time.
We worked closely with the Welsh Rugby Union to maximise the impact made by Wales in Japan during the latter part of their tour. Both the squad and management made a significant contribution to promoting a positive image for Team Wales. The Welsh Government’s own resources were also supported by excellent co-operation from HM Ambassador and the British Embassy.
Wales enjoys a strong reputation with Japanese business, as evidenced by the continuing flow of long-term investment. The Welsh Government is committed to maintaining and developing our relationships with our Japanese investors, both old and new. Our two countries have mutually benefitted from these relationships for more than 40 years and we aim for many more years of co-operation and enterprise.