First Minister the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA have met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as part of their first business mission to Japan this week.
The four-day visit follows an invitation from Prime Minister Abe to visit Japan during the G8 Summit. The First Minister and deputy First Minister will also meet with political representatives to promote trade, investment and tourism, as well as hold a number of meetings with existing and potential investors.
The First Minister Peter Robinson said: “It was an enormous pleasure to accept the invitation from Prime Minister Abe to come to Japan to develop Government to Government links and explore opportunities to grow our respective economies.This meeting has provided a valuable opportunity to promote everything great that Northern Ireland has to offer on a global scale.
“One of the key objectives of our Programme for Government 2011-15 is to grow the Northern Ireland economy and tackle disadvantage. We consider this can be achieved by promoting our capabilities internationally and developing mutually beneficial relationships with targeted countries, regions and international organisations.
“Japan is one of the world’s leading economies however Northern Ireland has a lot to offer. Today’s meeting underlines our commitment to develop and strengthen our relationship with Japan. We are determined to explore all areas where we can both benefit with a particular focus on our economy, education and cultural links.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “We had a very positive meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discussed Japan’s significant contribution to our economy. Japanese companies employ over 2,500 people here and their growth and longevity is testimony to the Japanese culture and commitment to long-term sustainable investments.
“Forging further links with the Japanese business community, attracting new inward investment and realising greater growth and two-way business development exchanges between our two countries is an important priority to help grow our global competitiveness.
“The meeting gave us the opportunity to talk about the development of investment, cultural and educational links.”