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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07940: Ash Denham (Edinburgh Eastern)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 9 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the visit by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs to Japan in February 2017.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 10 March 2017

I travelled to Japan from 12 to 17 February, where I undertook a programme of activity to strengthen links in business, trade, tourism, education and culture.


I met Mr Yukio Takano, the mayor of Toshima Ward, one of Tokyo’s most diverse cultural centres, where it was announced that a Scotland Day will be held in the Ward in November 2017. The Japan Scotland Association will organise the programme with support from Toshima Ward in providing venues, building on the success of last year’s inaugural event. Scotland Day is expected to feature visual arts and cultural performances, displays promoting Scottish products and Scotland as a tourism destination and place to study, plus talks on Scotland and Japan’s historical connections.


During a meeting at their offices, I had a discussion with the Nippon Foundation on their collaboration with Robert Gordon University to run a summer school for students in the field of marine engineering and opportunities for further collaboration


I hosted a business reception at the British Embassy in Tokyo to promote Scotland as a place to invest and highlight that Scotland is open for business. Guests included representatives from current and potential investors in Scotland, retailers of Scottish produce and a range of other businesses. The reception showcased examples of Scottish food, drink and textiles and promoted Scotland as a destination for tourism. Also present were a cultural delegation from Scotland supported by the British Council to explore the potential for deeper cultural collaborations between Scotland and Japan; and a delegation of teachers and education representatives from across Scotland supported by the Japan Foundation as part of a programme to encourage greater teaching of Japanese language and culture in Scottish schools.


I met Mr Hiroyuki Yoshiie, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to reaffirm the Scottish Government’s commitment to continue developing the relationship with Japan in the areas of education and culture. Later, I hosted a roundtable discussion with senior representatives from national and local government, the national culture agency, the Tokyo Olympics Games Organising Committee, the British Council and Festivals Edinburgh to share Scotland’s experience of using major events to promote cultural engagement and tourism. I heard about current plans for cultural activity for both the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and encouraged engagement in learning from Scotland’s experience in managing large-scale cultural events and maximising their impact.


I highlighted the quality and provenance of authentic Scottish produce during a visit to the first ever Scottish food and drink fair at the Isetan Shinjuku Store in Tokyo, which boasts the highest sales of any department store in Japan.


I spoke at a seminar at the British Embassy to outline Scotland’s approach to the care of people with dementia. Scotland and Japan are both remodelling their approach to care of older people due to ageing populations. At the seminar, government and healthcare professionals in Tokyo, together with experts from University of Stirling and NHS Scotland, explored the human rights-based approach facilitated by the development of a ‘Dementia Friendly Community’. I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Stirling and the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology committing to a long-term partnership. Scotland’s person-centric approach is highly regarded by the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology, which is looking to introduce a similar system in Japan.


I opened a seminar in Tokyo to encourage Japanese companies to invest in Scotland, highlighting Scotland’s strengths in innovation, research and manufacturing. Organised by Scottish Development International and the Japan External Trade Relations Organisation, the seminar reflected the developing relationship between Scottish and Japanese agencies in promoting bilateral trade and investment.


During my visit, I held meetings with a number of current investors in Scotland including Mitsubishi Electric, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Yokokawa, Toshiba Medical Systems, OKI Data and Reprocell.


In Nagasaki I visited Scotland House, the hub for Scottish marine renewables companies that I opened on my previous visit in 2015, where I announced that Aquatera, a leading Scottish environmental services firm, had been awarded a contract to support Nagasaki’s tidal energy test site in Japan. The contract was confirmed by Mr Toshiyuki Sakai, Head of the Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster Promotion Association, as I met businesses and agencies to discuss opportunities for Scottish companies to support the development of Japan’s marine renewable energy sector.


I also met Mr Tomihisa Taue, the Mayor of Nagasaki City; Mr Houdou Nakamura, the Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture; and Mr Susumu Satomi, the Vice Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture; and a number of other senior representatives from Nagasaki’s business and sporting communities to reinforce the developing connections between Nagasaki and organisations in Scotland, including collaborations in renewable energy, academic exchange and sport. Nagasaki has been confirmed as the venue for the Scottish national rugby team’s holding camp for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.


During a visit to their campus, Nagasaki University confirmed their intention to extend their existing collaborations with a number of Scottish universities, to include the area of humanities. I held a seminar with humanities students at Nagasaki University, where they discussed the importance of international collaboration and exchange.


The seminar followed a meeting with university Vice President Mr Shunichi Yamashita and Professor Ikuo Yamomoto. Professor Yamomoto was instrumental in setting up partnerships with Heriot Watt University, University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling. Nagasaki University also has partnerships with University of Aberdeen and University of Highlands and Islands. Existing partnerships include subjects such as marine energy, aquaculture, marine biology and English language exchanges. During my visit, I appointed Professor Yamomoto as a Global Scot in recognition of his work in supporting the relationship between Scotland and Japan.


There were a number of media engagements throughout the visit during which I highlighted the benefits of business and academic partnerships between Scotland and Japan, and set out the Scottish Government’s position on Europe.