Belgian Economic Mission in Kyoto – Business & human rights, culture and video game jam

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On December 9, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing His Majesty the King, is leading the Belgian economic mission to its final destination, Kyoto.

Princess Astrid will be accompanied by a ministerial delegation with Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib, Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Jan Jambon, and Brussels State Secretary responsible for Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations and Foreign Trade, Pascal Smet. Federal Secretary of State Mathieu Michel will also participate in activities of the economic mission in the field of digitisation.

Kyoto – Japan’s capital from 794 until 1869 – is today considered the cultural capital of Japan and many of its landmarks have been designated collectively as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Kyoto is also an academic center with several highly rated institutions including Kyoto University, the second oldest university in Japan. The city is also the centre of Japan’s television and film industry and and home to the internationally renowned video game company Nintendo. 

The delegation will start their programme at Doshisha University with a seminar on Business and Human Rights, with a focus on equality. Gender equality is a policy priority for Belgium, both nationally and in foreign policy. The seminar in Kyoto will focus on the youth's perspective and expectations on gender equality in business, followed by a panel-discussion with high-level participants from Japan and Belgium, who will share their experience and messages for the future. 

Princess Astrid and the delegation will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1920s Japanese book donation to the University of Leuven (KUL-UCL) and honor the involvement of the Imperial Palace and of the University of Kyoto in this donation. The venue of the commemoration is the historic Seifuso villa and gardens of former Prime Minister Duke Saionji Kinmochi. Duke Saionji Kinmochi led the Japanese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference at the end of the First World War in 1919, where he was asked if Japan would commit to the international effort to rebuild the library of the University of Leuven.

After attending the opening of the exhibition of photographs by Thierry Renauld of sculptures by Folon at the Hakuso Sonso Hashimoto Kansetsu Garden & Museum, Princess Astrid will host the award ceremony of Game Jam : Japanese Cooperation in Graphic Arts and Video Games. The Game Jam is a challenge race in which teams of young graduates from Belgium and Japan have competed online to produce a video game in only two days. Princess Astrid will announce the winning team and give them the award. As such, Japanese and Belgian talent and creativity will be connected and introduced to Japanese editors at the heart of Japan’s video and game industry.

The program in Kyoto concludes the Belgian economic mission to Japan.

The full programme and all useful information on the Belgian economic mission to Japan are available on the following website:

Follow the Belgian Economic Mission to Japan on social media: #BEmissionJPN


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