His Excellency Mr Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan to the UK, visited the region last week ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit in Japan to address guests at the CBI North East Annual Dinner.
On the day the Ambassador, and colleagues from the Japanese Embassy, also visited Newcastle University and the Helix site, to see for themselves the new development and large-scale investment being made in the city. Invest Newcastle and Newcastle City Council supported the visit, highlighting the region’s expertise and excellence in ageing and data, and the group were taken on a tour of the new Catalyst Building, home to the National Innovation Centre for Data and the National Innovation Centre for Ageing.
The Ambassador then joined the Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General CBI, Pat Ritchie Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council and Professor Chris Day, Vice Chancellor and President of Newcastle University in the planting of a cherry blossom tree in honour of the visit, arranged by the CBI.
CBI North East Regional Director Sarah Glendinning said:
“Last week His Excellency came to the region to show his support for our economy and pay tribute to the innovation and skill demonstrated by our people. From Nissan in the north to FujiFILM Diosynth in the south of our region, the strong relationship with Japan is something we are all very proud of.
“The planting of this tree by the Ambassador is a symbol of how the connection between our region and Japan continues to blossom and grow.
“Japan is a close friend of the North East and long may that continue. Our trading history dates back hundreds of years and as we look to the future, we are honoured to rightly recognise and celebrate this important association.”
Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University Professor Chris Day said:
“It was a great privilege to welcome His Excellency to the region and to have the opportunity to highlight some of the University’s expertise in the fields of Ageing and Data.
“Japan and the UK have a long history of partnership. Now, more than ever, we have many twenty-first century interests and concerns in common and I believe there is enormous potential for the UK and Japan to learn from one another.
“While we face similar demographic, social and industrial challenges, we are also among the very best producers of cutting edge research in the world, and thus we are ideal partners in the quest to find innovative solutions to global challenges.”
Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle added: “We have a long history with Japan, with our region welcoming one of the first major Japanese investor to the UK back in 1976. We continue to have strong sector synergies, specifically around the themes of tech, life science, data and ageing, and this visit provided the ideal opportunity to showcase our credentials as a smart city and as a leading location for science and tech driven businesses.
“Newcastle has been reflecting on global trends such as an ageing population and being able to share learning with a country that is world-renowned for its pioneering work in this field was invaluable. Long-term relationships like this really help us to put our city on the map, and with Newcastle Helix quickly becoming a hub for global innovation there has never been a better time for us to showcase our city’s assets.”