Prime Minister Rutte and economic affairs minister Kamp in Japan

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting Japan from 9 to 10 November 2015, accompanied by economic affairs minister Henk Kamp, who will remain until 11 November. A delegation of over 120 Dutch companies and knowledge institutions, including the largest-ever horticulture mission to Japan, are travelling with the two ministers. Also visiting Japan is a delegation from Amsterdam and the surrounding region, led by the city’s mayor Eberhart van der Laan.

During visits to companies and meetings with local entrepreneurs, Dutch businesspeople will make contact with their Japanese counterparts and deepen existing ties. Strengthening links between the two countries is also a key theme of the talks between Mr Rutte and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

Japan is the world's third-largest economy and the biggest Asian investor in the Netherlands. Trade between the Netherlands and Japan totalled over €11.5 billion in 2014. There are major opportunities for Dutch companies in Japan, in agriculture and horticulture, cyber security, sports science and pension management.

Programme

Mr Rutte’s programme will begin on the afternoon of Monday 9 November with a visit to the Tokyo University of the Arts. He will meet Japanese experts and Dutch counterparts from the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Arts and Science (NICAS) to discuss cooperation in art conservation. Meanwhile, Mr Kamp and the horticulture delegation of almost 30 companies will visit an Agri-Mind tomato-growing centre in Yamanashi prefecture. Afterwards, Mr Kamp will open the nearby new production plant jointly owned by the Dutch company Koppert Cress and its Japanese partner Murakami Farm.

At the end of the afternoon Mr Rutte will attend a Paralympic clinic for Dutch and Japanese wheelchair basketball players and school pupils. Mr Yoichi Masuzoe, the governor of Tokyo, will also be present. In the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there are many opportunities for Dutch companies to collaborate on sustainable and innovative solutions in a variety of fields, such as sports infrastructure, mobility and building on water. On Monday evening, the Prime Minister will talk to quantum technologists about further cooperation. Also present will be Professor Leo Kouwenhoven of QuTech, the Dutch institute for quantum technology.

On Tuesday 10 November Mr Rutte will start the day with a business breakfast with Dutch entrepreneurs working in Japan. He will then visit the company Fujifilm. Meanwhile, Mr Kamp will open a seminar about combating the trade in illegal timber. Japan is currently developing legislation similar to the EU's illegal timber regulation.

At the beginning of the afternoon Mr Rutte and Mr Kamp will meet all the participants in the economic mission. Following on from this, various contracts and agreements will be signed by Dutch and Japanese companies. The ministers will then have talks with the Dutch Rabobank and Japanese Norinchukin Bank about financing in the agri-food sector. Later in the afternoon Mr Rutte will go to Keio University for a Japanese-Dutch conference for top financiers and academics on the financial consequences of demographic ageing and the sustainability of pension systems. The Netherlands and Japan are both facing challenges around demographic ageing and can learn a great deal from each other in this area. Simultaneously, Mr Kamp will have talks with Ken Saito, State Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, about market access and glasshouse cultivation, among other things. At the end of the afternoon, Mr Rutte will join in the Cyber Security Matchmaking Forum, where contacts will be established between Dutch and Japanese companies.

Mr Rutte will conclude his visit to Japan on Tuesday evening, when he and Mr Kamp will be received by Mr Shinzo Abe.

On Wednesday 11 November Minister Kamp will continue his visit to Japan by delivering the opening address at a quantum technology seminar in which Japan and Netherlands will seek opportunities to work together. In the afternoon, the minister will open a seminar on horticulture and innovation, where speakers from the business community, knowledge institutions and government will present innovations in horticulture such as energy-saving. At the end of the afternoon, Mr Kamp will deliver the closing address at a seminar about sports science and relevant expertise that can be deployed at major sporting events.

Mr Kamp will conclude his visit to Japan with a business dinner, where delegates from the economic mission will have an opportunity to make contact with Japanese businesses and strengthen existing ties.