Address from Consul General Takaoka: Asia Scotland Institute seminar

Good evening.

Thank you very much for joining tonight to participate in this very timely and important debate on Japan-UK relations in this critical juncture, 34 days to go before the 29th of March.

My name is Nozomu Takaoka, Consul General of Japan, stationed here in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh has been the key in the development of modern economy through Adam Smith, the father of economics, and Scottish Widows, the first asset management company in the world.

Following these traditions, people here in Edinburgh have developed a more composed, academic and long-term attitude than those in London for example, where day to day, hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute changes dominate the economic and even political scene.

Therefore, welcoming three outstanding speakers from Japan to Edinburgh, a former senior diplomat, a political scientist and an economist as well as a renowned British economist is very appropriate.

Why Japan? This panel essentially marks the start of Japan Season of Culture 2019-2020 on the academic side in Edinburgh. Season of Culture celebrates Japan’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup this year and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, as agreed by PM Abe and PM May.
In addition to that, I see a clear prospect after Brexit that if the UK and Scotland can further develop stronger economic ties with Japan, the future will be very bright for the British economy. Especially because Japan has taken the initiative in two major global free trade vehicles established in the past two months, Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and TPP 11. I’m sure this topic will come up tonight.

I would like to thank the Asia Scotland Institute for hosting tonight’s event. This is a great formula with so many strong participants from the Scottish side as well. And it is incredible that such a thoughtful and effective setting for exchange of views was prepared in such a short time. I therefore commend the Institute’s Chairman Roddy Gow, Director David Birrell and Jacob Sanderman for their tireless hard work in ensuring a successful event.

Thank you very much.