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From December 5 to 9, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing His Majesty the King, will lead the Belgian economic mission to Japan to its first stop in Tokyo. Several visits to businesses and with public officials are scheduled in order to explore further investment and business opportunities between Belgium and Japan.
The Belgian economic mission will be the largest international trade delegation to visit Japan as well as the second-largest Belgian economic mission in Belgium’s history. The scope is to renew and enhance the already strong economic interactions between both countries with a clear focus on clean and innovative technologies that will address the challenges of the twin green and digital transformation.
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.
Japan and Belgium are already important economic partners today. Overcoming the global economic slowdown caused by to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Belgian trade with Japan rebounded in 2021, with imports totaling 9.3 billion EUR. Exports grew by almost 140% to 7.6 billion EUR - in part due to vaccine exports – making Belgium the second largest goods exporter to Japan within the European Union.
The programme in Tokyo will bring a rich variety of activities with a focus on highlighting sustainable business partnerships and opportunities, new and innovative technologies, clean energy, Fintech, Life Sciences, investment opportunities in Belgium, company visits, high-level bilateral discussions, and business-to-business meetings, academic exchanges and attention for Belgian beer culture – a selection of the events follows:
On December 5, Princess Astrid will celebrate several sustainable partnerships between Japanese and Belgian companies, such as Barco and TOHO cinemas, Zetes and the Panasonic Center in Tokyo (legal and digital identity sector), as well as Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, both major players in the roro car shipping and LNG sectors with the clear ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The same day, Princess Astrid and the official delegation will also have a bilateral meeting with HE Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib will hold consultations with HE Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
On December 6 the programme will draw attention to several events highlighting the Belgian know-how in the field of clean tech and energy solutions. In the morning, Princess Astrid will unveil a maquette of the Sea Challenger - a vessel DEME will operate in Japanese waters to install offshore wind turbines – and attend the opening of the Decarbonation Conference : tech development in Hydrogen & Offshore wind energy.
Princess Astrid and the official delegation will also explore post Covid-19 New Perspectives and Fundings in internationalization of Higher Education. A Business Luncheon hosted by Keidanren and the Belgian Enterprises Federation will conclude the morning programme.
In the afternoon, a Conference on Decarbonation and Artificial Intelligence will further look into practical applications of AI to optimize processes and reduce burdens.
The programme in Tokyo will be concluded with the opening of the Belgian Beer Weekend 2022 in Shinjuku, with opportunities to meet Belgian beer brewers and importers while tasting some of the finest Belgian craft beers and cuisine. Belgian jazz artists Jef Neve and Teus Nobel will commemorate the 100th birthday of Toots Thielemans with a live performance.
The full programme and all useful information on the Belgian economic mission to Japan are available on the following website: https://www.belgianeconomicmission.be
Follow the Belgian Economic Mission to Japan on social media: #BEmissionJPN
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