This week JLGC Director Yuichiro Hanyu has an article on the Guardian website looking at how, in many ways, the experience of being a local authority chief executive in Japan is very similar to those of senior officers in UK local authorities. The article contrasts between Japan and the UK protection for senior officers, the political presence of elected governors/mayors and the future of chief executives.

The article is fourth in the ‘Public service tango’ series on how politicians and managers relate, organised by the Guardian Public Leaders Network in association with SOLACE, and can be read here.

1 May 2014
09.00 (registration from 08.30) to 12.30, followed by networking reception
Institute of Directors, Pall Mall, London SW1

Free to attend, register here (by April 25)

Speakers include Norihiko Ishiguro (Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), Fumiko Hayashi (Mayor of Yokohama), Kizo Hisamoto (Mayor of Kobe), Soichiro Takashima (Mayor of Fukuoka), Eikei Suzuki (Governor of Mie Prefecture), Hidehiko Yuzaki (Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture).

The Japanese Government intends to double their foreign direct investment figures by 2020. To achieve this goal of attaining high investment from abroad, the Prime Minister and Cabinet members have started to enthusiastically promote inward investment and the various incentives on offer as well as cooperate with Japanese local governments.

This seminar will be timely, fitting with a visit to the UK by Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and will highlight and promote different regions of Japan through the featuring of prefectural governors and city mayors. There will be discussion around the changes to implementing inward investment as the predominant factors of each region, local business environment and the latest incentives, all of which will be current information. There will also be an opportunity to hear about the positive points of the Japanese market from a UK company who have experienced success there and the latest economic trends will be considered by former British Ambassador to Japan Sir David Warren, alongside his current views and projections. Through the various and diverse regions, we are excited about this opportunity to update you on the charms of Japan and the possibilities regarding investing there.

Co-hosted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Supported by Japan Local Government Centre, Japan Society, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Japan National Tourism Organization and UK Trade & Investment

JLGC and the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) will hold a joint seminar – ‘Local Growth, Global Links’ on March 11. This free event will bring together leading Chief Executives, LEP members and business leaders to share their experiences for building partnerships outside the UK to build local economic growth. Using Japan as the case study, speakers will share the benefits that have been brought by working with global business in the UK and building links with regions abroad.

The event will be held on 11 March 2014, 10.00-13.00 (followed by a networking lunch) at Church House, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ

Speakers at the event will include:

• Heather Jameson, Editor MJ
• Dave Smith, Chief Executive Sunderland City Council
• Cllr Joan Dixon, Cabinet Member Jobs, Economy, Transport, Derbyshire County Council
• Jun Arima, Director General Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)
• David Cook, Chief Executive Kettering Borough Council
• Rob Gorton, Toyota UK

It promises to provide a timely opportunity for UK and Japanese partners to reflect and recalibrate their efforts towards providing long term partnerships and solutions, not only for economic growth, but also on connected policy interventions around the ageing society, smart communities and low carbon. The event will conclude with a lunch reception for supporting international exchanges of local governments.

Register here via Eventbrite

Last week several JLGC staff, including Chihiro Sakurai (Assistant Director, seconded from Tokyo Metropolitan Government, TMG), were guests of the Senate Chancellery of the Governing Mayor of Berlin (Directorate for Protocol and International Relations) for a visit to examine policies around smart cities, which coincided with a concert and ceremony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Berlin-Tokyo city partnership.

The event at Berlin City Hall, which commenced a series of activities to commemorate the link, heard addresses from Hella Dunger-Löper (Berlin State Permanent Secretary for External Affairs), Japanese Ambassador Takeshi Nakane and the newly-elected Governor of Tokyo Yoichi Masuzoe (read on his behalf by Ms Sakurai). A recital followed by Japanese violinist Sayako Kusaka and pianist Kotaro Fukuma at the ceremony, which was co-organised by the Embassy of Japan in Berlin. Further events will take place throughout 2014, including a symposium on ‘Smart and Social Cities’ (in association with the Japanese-German Centre Berlin) and bilateral collaboration between Berlin and TMG around the Berlin Marathon (both in September). We would like to thank the staff of the Senate Chancellery, Berlin Partner and InnoZ for their efforts in assembling a detailed and productive programme for the visit.

This week’s Guardian Society supplement features a piece by former Japan Study Tour participant Hannah Fearn on transferable policy lessons for the UK from overseas on how to cope with the challenges posed by an ageing society.  The article includes commentary on a ‘zero isolation’ project in Japan by JLGC chief researcher Andrew Stevens and can be read here.

In addition a forthcoming Japan Foundation seminar on March 7 (13.30-16.00 with reception to follow) will focus on the ethnic dimensions of ageing in the UK, and seeks to introduce new ideas and practices to cope with ageing issues. Confirmed speakers are: Professor Michael Keith (University of Oxford) who will discuss migration and ageing; Professor Chris Phillipson (University of Manchester), who will discuss research into ageing and ethnicity; Dr Siew-Peng Lee (Brunel University), who will discuss the experiences of elderly Chinese in the UK; and Professor Itsuko Toyama (Kanamoto) (St. Andrew’s University, Japan) and Atsuko Takenaka (the Japan Association in the UK) who together will discuss the findings of a recent quantitative survey on elderly Japanese living in the UK. The seminar and research is under the auspices of the Embassy of Japan in the UK, and is supported by the Japan Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and St. Andrew’s University (Momoyama Gakuin University), Japan. For more details please visit the Japan Foundation website.

3 February 2014
7pm onwards
Embassy of Japan, Piccadilly, London W1

The growing popularity of sake in the UK as an accompaniment to Japanese meals, or just as a drink in its own right, is seeing an increase in opportunities for Japanese local areas to promote their produce in London. The latest promotional event will be held at the Embassy of Japan by Akita Prefectural Government, who hope to introduce their fine quality rice wines alongside a showcase of the distinct craftsmanship and philosophy of local family brewing traditions cultivated for over 300 years.

Known as ‘Bishu Oukoku’, or the ‘Empire of Beautiful Sake’, Akita Prefecture ranks fourth in Japan for sake production volume. Akita is known for its winter landscape, pure underground soft water, fertile soil, and pristine natural environment, which add distinct flavour to the local produce. You can apply for your place at this event to sample the wine and watch demonstrations via the Sake Samurai website here.

Mayors and top officials from more than 44 cities will join global leaders for the fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit to discuss their measurable action and future opportunity for action in the fight to address climate change and climate risks. The Summit will be hosted by the City of Johannesburg from February 4-6, 2014. Groundbreaking new information that shows the magnitude of city-level action against climate change will be released along with new data on city-lead climate change trends.

With the theme ‘Towards resilient and liveable megacities – demonstrating action, impact and opportunity’, the Summit will be co-hosted by the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Mpho Parks Tau, C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and the 108th Mayor of New York City and President of C40 board, Michael R. Bloomberg. Officials from Japanese C40 member cities Tokyo and Yokohama will be in attendance.

C40 Press Release

Two key London events this month will consider the competitiveness of Tokyo as a leading global hub in Asia, especially in light of recent developments in Japanese economic policy and its staging of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, will host ‘Tokyo: A World Financial Centre in the Asia-Pacific?’. This morning roundtable event on January 17 will focus on the potential role of Tokyo as a global mega-city and financial centre in the Asia-Pacific, drawing comparisons with London in Europe, and consider whether its position is being challenged by other Asian cities. It will also address the various fiscal policies used by the Japanese government to further develop the country’s financial market, as well as the potential impact of the 2020 Olympic Games on Tokyo’s identity. The event is the first of four roundtables as part of Chatham House’s series The ‘Return’ of Japan: Abenomics, Structural Reforms and Global Competitiveness – A Dialogue with Europe, with later events on corporate governance and infrastructure investment, and will include speakers from both Tokyo and London city governments, among others. You can register interest via the Chatham House website.

Later this month, on January 30 (at 6.30pm), Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and former CEO of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), will speak at a Japan Society Forum. In his lecture ’2020 Vision’: insights from the London 2012 Games’, he will share his views on London’s experiences during the run-up to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and discuss lessons which can be exchanged with the 2020 Games organisers in Tokyo. Now a UK Government Minister for Infrastructure (including Olympic Legacy), Lord Deighton met with former Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose last year to share such insights from the London Games for Tokyo’s benefit. You can book a place via the Japan Society website, by January 28.

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JETRO & UKTI Japan Business Promotion Symposium “Arrows to Japan: The Road to Business Success”
Thursday 16 January 2014
BIS Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

This symposium marks 400 years of UK and Japan business cooperation. Representatives from the Japanese government will provide an insight into Japan’s current economic strategies and Prime Minister Abe’s ‘Third Arrow of Abenomics’ as well as the opportunity to hear from UK businesses who have already experienced  success in the Japanese market.

Marking the 400th commemorative year of mutual business activities in 2013, Japan and the UK have forged a partnership that is stronger than ever. The development of the environment for further trade/investment between Japan/UK is under way through a range of measures such as the negotiations for the Japan-EU EPA/EIA. Under such circumstances, the Abe Administration has announced an economic policy, ‘Abenomics’ with a view to revitalizing the Japanese economy, which has aroused great interest in the UK as it has in other countries.

This symposium is to provide up-to-date information on Japan’s Growth Strategy as well as on the attraction of the Japanese market, business opportunities and incentives for inward investment into Japan as matters of high concern for UK companies who have interest in business in/with Japan. At the same time, it is hoped to foster better understanding and discover new and fascinating aspects of business in/with Japan through the introduction of case studies by UK companies who have experienced business in/with Japan. The event includes a presentation by Noriko Adachi (Director for Asian Headquarters Special Zone, Tokyo Metropolitan Government).

For more information and to register, please visit the JETRO London website.

Related: ‘Globalising Japan’s cities and regions’

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Last week we assisted a delegation of six Tokyo Metropolitan Assemblymen on their study visit to London in support of Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games.   As well as inspecting London 2012 venues and the Olympic Park, at City Hall they met with Darren Johnson AM (Chair of the London Assembly) and Nicky Gavron AM (former Deputy Mayor and current London Assembly Planning Committee chair), in addition to key officials of the Greater London Authority.  The group were told of the key role of the assembly in holding the Olympics organisers to account over staging the “greenest games ever” and ensuring a sustainable legacy after the games.

They also visited the London Legacy Development Corporation to hear first-hand about the post-games use of the Olympic Park and venues.  At UK Trade & Investment (in association with the Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO), the group learnt about the success of engaging UK business in the staging of the games with positive results for the British economy, an impressive key takeaway point for Tokyo’s 2020 planning, they felt.

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