42nd Joint Meeting of the Japan New Zealand Business Council
Tomakomai: 18-20 October 2015
The 42nd Joint Meeting of the Japan New Zealand Business Council was held over three days from the 18th to the 20th of October 2015 at Grand Hotel New Oji, Tomakomai, Hokkaido with the attendance of a total of 157 participants including 67 from New Zealand and 90 from Japan.
At the Opening Ceremony, followed by the opening addresses of both chairs, Ambassadors HE Mr Toshihisa Takata and HE Mr Mark Sinclair, Hokkaido Governor Ms Harumi Takahashi, and Tomakomai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Mr Hiroaki Fujita delivered congratulatory addresses.
Mr Tatsuhiko Yoshizaki, Chief Economist at Sojitz Research Institute, then presented Keynote Address titled “Japan – New Zealand Relations in Asia Pacific”. Mr Yoshizaki said that the broad agreement of TPP is a significant development in the context of Japan’s FTA strategy, as well as a great achievement for New Zealand. He said he envisages the agreement will further promote activities to broaden “high quality FTAs” in the Asia Pacific Region including China, whose future participation he expects to see.
At the First Plenary Session, under the theme of “Economic Overviews and Prospects”, speakers expressed their expectation that new investments and partnerships will be realised as a result of the recently concluded TPP agreement. The presentations were followed by active discussions on such topics as the impact of the declining birth rate and climate change issues on Japan’s economic growth.
At the Second Plenary Session, under the theme of “Environment and Energy”, presentations were given on some business initiatives towards creating a low carbon society in the area of timber residential construction. Examples of activities to utilise sustainable usage of land and forest were presented. There were calls from the floor for the New Zealand Government’s support and building of infrastructure to help the country to become the world’s leading forestry producing country.
At the Third Plenary Session, under the theme of “Innovation and Technology”, latest examples of joint research in the area of geothermal energy and health science, and the introduction of robots in the field of nursing and agriculture were presented. The speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration and innovation in such a way that the strength of each country is fully leveraged.
At the Fourth Plenary Session, under the theme of “Manufacturing”, two presentations were made. The first presentation introduced the company’s active overseas expansion strategy and business development, leveraging existing technology to respond to declining domestic demand in Japan. The second presentation introduced a success story of new business development made possible by using high quality wool from New Zealand.
In the Fifth Plenary Session “Logistics and Port”, the Tomakomai Port’s efforts including building agricultural facilities which use new technology to attract companies and international projects such as testing of CO2 reduction. Air New Zealand presented its efforts to expand its business with Japan.
At the Sixth Plenary Session “Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries”, presentations were made on the development of smart agriculture with the use of robots, and also examples of collaborations between New Zealand and Hokkaido including the project which aims to add value to the dairy industry as well as the development of functional foods.
At the Seventh Plenary Session under the theme of “Education and Tourism”, presentations were made on the importance of “sports tourism” which unites the two nations leading up to the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Olympics/Paralympics 2020, which will be held in Japan, and also about the new initiatives to increase the flow of international students between New Zealand and Japan. The presentation also included speeches by alumni.
The Eighth Plenary Session “Open Discussion – Japan and New Zealand: a value added relationship” featured comments on the expectation for increased collaboration on innovative research and development, and value-added business, as a result of the conclusion of the TPP agreement.
The Chairmen feel that this year’s joint meeting has provided a very good opportunity to deepen understanding of the importance of our partnership and new business opportunities, against the background of the new era brought about by the conclusion of the TPP agreement. It was also valuable to undertake visits to local Tomakomai industrial plants to observe their first-class technology in action.