Minister to offer renewables expertise

Green energy on Hyslop’s agenda for nuclear-hit Japan

FukushimaFiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, will visit Japan later this month in a bid to capitalise on its appetite for alternative energy in the wake of the nuclear accident four years ago.

Japan has shown increasing interest in Scotland’s renewable energy technologies which are of growing importance to the country since the devastating destruction of the Fukushima power plant.

All 43 of Japan’s operable nuclear reactors are currently mothballed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said rebooting the country’s nuclear sector is needed to cut the cost of using fossil fuels for power generation, but he faces a deeply sceptical public after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant north of Tokyo.

The situation has encouraged Japan’s leaders to look to other forms of energy and Ms Hyslop (below) will be keen to stress the emerging global talent in renewables that Scotland now offers.

Her visit also coincides with new figures showing Japan’s economy growing strongly by 3.9% in the first quarter of this year.

Fiona Hyslop“Japan is looking to increase its energy capacity from renewables and Scotland’s expertise in renewable energy and the sector in general is in demand,” she said.

She sees the visit as an opportunity to build generally on historic ties and the healthy level of trade between the two nations. Japan imports £295 million of goods and services from Scotland.

“Scotland already has strong business and cultural links to Japan,” she said. “Japan has accounted for 5.8% of all inward investment into Scotland over the past decade and was the fourth biggest source of foreign direct investment projects into Scotland in 2015.

“Many Japanese companies – such as Terasaki Electric, Terumo-Vascutek, OKI Data, Mizuno, Mitsubishi Electric and FujiFilm – are already operating in Scotland employing around 4,500 people but there is huge potential for future growth.

“The recent Scotland Food and Drink Export plan sets set out ambitions to increase overseas sales in key markets such as Japan where there is a growing demand for Scottish seafood and our knowledge of major events is sought across the world.”

Scotland’s trading and cultural relationship with Japan goes back to the 19th century when Scots, including Thomas Glover, Richard Henry Brunton and Henry Dyer, were some of the first to travel to the country.

Ms Hyslop will spend two days each in Tokyo and Nagasaki between the 29 June and 2 July.

Highlights of the Tokyo leg are expected to include speaking to business leaders at the chamber of commerce on the potential of working with Scottish businesses.

Ms Hyslop will launch a new service for renewable energy businesses in Nagasaki and present the completed survey data from the Scottish Ten digital documentation project.

A number of private strategic business meetings will be held looking for business and investment opportunities in Scotland including around the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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