Posted on 4 July 2011
(Left to Right) Hiroshi Oka, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, Steve Dalton OBE and Glen Fukishima
Luminaries from government, business and industry came together at Cardiff City Hall on Monday, 27 June, to discuss and celebrate Wales’s longstanding relationship with Japan.
The ‘Japan and Wales: Investment, Innovation and Future Economies’ symposium was an afternoon event jointly organised by the University of Wales and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. Issues covered varied from inward investment to present-day research, innovation and manufacturing links.
The keynote address was delivered by Hiroshi Oka, Economic Minister at the Embassy of Japan, London, who spoke of the need, now more urgent than ever, to cement Welsh-Japanese ties through continued close cooperation in business:
“The partnership held between Wales and Japan will only continue to grow closer through increased interaction and cooperation which will lead to yet more business innovation – innovation that would not be possible without our two countries working together”
Other speakers included Lord Rowe-Beddoe, Chair of the Welsh Development Agency (1993 – 2001); Steve Dalton OBE, Managing Director of SONY Wales; Mr Glen S. Fukushima, Chairman of Airbus Japan, and Professor Marie Conte-Helm OBE, Director General of the Daiwa Anglo- Japanese Foundation.
Lord Rowe-Beddoe began his speech by extending his sympathy and support for the Japanese people in the wake of this year’s tsunami, which wrought devastation to much of Japan’s north coast. He then spoke of Japan’s integral role in supporting Wales through its own crisis:
“With its injections of investment, Japan played a most vital role in the economic recovery of Wales following the massive decline of coal and steel industries in the 1960s and 70s when thousands of valuable jobs were lost in South Wales, the benefit of which is still felt today. Who said that inward investors in Wales were just in it for the short term?”
Steve Dalton then spoke of his 28 years working for Sony, the only employer he has ever had. His talk drew on his experience travelling to Japan and the inspiration he garnered from the visit. He said:
“I often ask myself why Welsh and Japanese collaborations are so successful. But I think I can guess. The Japanese are methodical, analytical, innovative and focused, while the Welsh are passionate, excellent leaders and good decision makers – put the two together and you have a powerful and lasting ingredient!”
Following a brief Q&A session, Mr D. Hugh Thomas, Chairman of the University of Wales Council and honorary Consul of Japan in Wales offered his thanks to the congregation who were led to a drinks reception nearby.
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