Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum opens in Tokyo

by | May 13, 2008 | Media Releases

The first ever Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum opens in Tokyo tomorrow (14 May) with a reception at the New Zealand Embassy to be addressed by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Forum Co-Chair Hon Philip Burdon said that the stage was set for a landmark event.

“This Forum is an unparalleled opportunity for New Zealand to demonstrate its interest in a stronger relationship with Japan.  It is supported by both governments at the highest level and by business organisations in both countries.

“We expect the event to contribute to a deeper understanding of the value of the relationship to both countries’ interests”.

Both Prime Minister Helen Clark and Trade Minister Phil Goff will deliver key note addresses at the Forum on 15 May along with a senior representative of the Japanese Government.

The Partnership Forum is the first offshore event for the NZ International Business Forum. NZIBF Chairman Graeme Harrison says the Partnership Forum is long overdue.

“At a time when attention in New Zealand is focused increasingly on China it is important not to lose sight of the enormous contribution Japan makes to New Zealand’s economy.

“As well as trade in both directions, Japanese investment provides jobs for well over 10,000 New Zealanders and even more in downstream employment.  Japan is the world’s second largest economy but New Zealand struggles to capture the attention of Japanese business leaders and opinion formers.

“The Forum’s theme “New Thinking, New Partnership” has been designed to capture the imagination of a range of players in moving the relationship forward”.

In releasing details of the Forum’s programme and delegation lists, Mr Burdon said the Forum had already succeeded in capturing attention in Japan.

“The combined delegations are a ‘who’s who’ of business in the two countries.  Over 90 leaders from business, government and the wider community from both countries are confirmed to attend.

“The Japanese delegation includes major corporations such as Toyota, Mitsui, Orix, Daikin, Hitachi, Sojitz, Marubeni and JAL.  New Zealand’s major exporters – Fonterra, Anzco, Sealord, Zespri, Pan Pac and Air New Zealand – are all attending.  Business organisations including the powerful Nippon Keidanren, senior officials and academics, as well as the NZ Rugby Union are also represented”, said Mr Burdon.

Mr Harrison said discussions at the Forum would focus on how the two countries could co-operate in responding to change in the Asia Pacific region, promoting innovation and business development and responding to the challenges of climate change and sustainability.

“The Forum focuses on the big picture of the relationship and how co-operation can create new business and value for shareholders and stakeholders alike.  The message from this Forum is that there is plenty of capacity for both countries to do more together”.

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