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The President has assessed the trip to Japan as positive and productive

2023 October 17
  • The Basque delegation took part in numerous meetings and initiatives through which the Basque Country will form part of the Global Network of Cities for Sustainability; collaboration channels on human rights and peace have been opened between the Gogora Institute and the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and the Basque Country has been placed within the industrial and energy agenda of Japanese companies
  • "The main objective has been to introduce the Basque Country to Japanese society through recreational activities related to gastronomy, tourism, culture and traditional sports; I am convinced that this trip and the other activities that have and will be performed in the remainder of the year, will serve to definitely boost the relationship with Japan," said the President

The President, Iñigo Urkullu made a very positive assessment of the trip to Japan together with a large representation of Basque companies from the industrial, food and wine and tourism sectors and the Basque Ministers Javier Hurtado -Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs- and Arantxa Tapia -Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment-.

The President began his speech by thanking the Basque delegation for the work and effort made during the trip, which is part of the Basque Country-Japan initiative that is being held throughout 2023 in Japan with more than 50 activities in both countries. "An ambitious effort made from the Basque Country to globally address relations with a country"- said the President.  "I am convinced that this trip and the other activities that have been and will be performed in the remainder of the year, will serve to definitely boost the relationship with Japan," he added.

The Basque delegation, headed by the President, has carried out multiple visits and meetings during the week. At an institutional level, working meetings have been held with the Ministers of State for Digital Transformation and Foreign Affairs respectively, as well as with the Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy of the Government of Japan. At a prefectural level, the President has held working meetings with the Governor of Metropolitan Tokyo and with the Governors of Mie and Fukushima respectively; at a local level, meetings have been held with the Mayoress of Toshima and the Mayor of Hiroshima and in the cultural field, the meetings with the Vice-chancellors of the universities of Tokyo and Hiroshima are of particular relevance. The Kids of Gernika exhibition organised by the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo was also visited and this same morning Urkullu took part in a working meeting on the demographic challenge and the ageing of the population, with the prestigious Think Tank Japan Research Institute.

The Basque Country, part of the Global Network of Cities for Sustainability

Thanks to the support of the Governor of Tokyo, the Basque Country will be part of the Global Network of Cities for Sustainability. A network that brings together some of the world's major cities, such as Tokyo, New York, Helsinki, Rome, Singapore and Paris. With the introduction of the Basque Country in this network, the network is open to incorporating other sub-state entities. "We have requested them that the Basque Country host one of the annual meetings of this network," explained Urkullu.

He also valued very positively the increase in the number of students in the Basque language and culture courses, and the avenues of collaboration in human rights and peace opened between the Gogora Institute and the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. "Hiroshima and Gernika (Japan and the Basque Country) are probably the greatest emblems representing the struggle for peace and human rights in the world" - stressed the President. 

To place the Basque Country on the industrial agenda of Japanese companies and as a tourist destination

In addition to meetings with Japanese companies and institutions, the Basque delegation participated in the Fukushima Industry Fair and the Business Leaders Summit with the aim of promoting the Basque Country as an innovative and industrial territory. Likewise, the companies linked to the production of Txakoli and canned products have held working meetings with Japanese distributors within the Caprice program. Therefore, in the words of the President "the trip in the economic sphere has been productive in terms of placing the Basque Country within the industrial and energy agenda of Japanese companies and to open the txakoli market up a little more". 

With respect to tourism, among other initiatives, a seminar has been organised with over 60 tour operators with the aim of recovering the Basque Country as a tourist destination for the Japanese after the pandemic. "We are on the right track to achieve this," said the President.

Finally, in reference to the Basqueweek, Urkullu indicated that the main objective has been to make the Basque Country known to Japanese society through recreational activities related to gastronomy, tourism, culture and traditional sports. The President thanked the Mayoress of Toshima district for the facilities and support provided for the installation of the exhibition centre, which has been "a small showcase of the Basque Country in Japan, through which more than 12,000 people have passed in one day, filling the capacity of the different workshops daily," he explained.

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Politicians attending the event