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Lord Mayor hails prosperous ties with Japan at Guildhall Banquet

  • June 27, 2024
  • 3 min read
Lord Mayor hails prosperous ties with Japan at Guildhall Banquet

The Lord Mayor of the City of London has highlighted the strong partnership between the UK and Japan at a banquet held at Guildhall in honour of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito of Japan.

Lord Mayor Professor Michael Mainelli reflected on the historic ties between the City, the UK, and Japan, bolstered by the City Corporation’s longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the Lord Mayor’s recent visit to Japan where he met Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, seeking to strengthen our partnership in asset management and green finance.

The following is from the Lord Mayor Professor Michael Mainelli:

“Over the years, the UK has readily adopted many aspects of Japanese culture…from anime, karaoke and karate… to ramen, matcha and mochi.

“Halfway across the planet from one another, our comparative advantages are ideas and innovations – very concentrated ‘knowledge products’, like microchips – not heavy goods and commodities.

“Partners in the G7 and CPTPP, Japan and the UK are each other’s most important allies in Asia and Europe respectively. Japan was the first country the UK signed a Free Trade Agreement with when we left the European Union. The new Japan-UK global strategic partnership agreed by our Prime Ministers last year – ‘The Hiroshima Accord’ – will only deepen that relationship in areas like defence and renewable energy.

“The strong ties between our financial centres, Tokyo and the Square Mile, were bolstered by the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and City Corporation in 2017 – the impact of which was evident during my visit to Japan last month, where I had the pleasure of hosting a press conference and bilateral meeting with Tokyo’s Governor Koike and discussed opportunities for further collaboration in asset management, fintech and green finance.

“The City also has strong personal links to Japan. I had the fortune of studying East Asian history at Harvard under Edwin O. Reischauer, the former United States Ambassador to Japan.

“My parents and sister lived in Japan for many years. And my son is just one of three million foreign nationals living in Japan, 20,000 of whom are Brits – living with his wife and my grandsons in Yokohoma.

“Speaking here at Guildhall in 1971, Emperor Shōwa, praised the ‘quiet but effective collaboration between the scholars, scientists and technical experts of our two countries.’

“Fifty years on, and the problems facing the world today have evolved, but the willingness of our scholars, scientists and technical experts to work together to tackle them is unchanged. The quality of joint UK-Japan research is four and a half times the world average.

“Current geopolitical and technological trends render coordinated action even more necessary.

“So, we welcome Japanese support for our ‘Connect To Prosper’ programme, which seeks to leverage the power of the City’s unique connections to tackle global challenges and promotes international standards that provide stability and security. Sir Walter Raleigh said ‘there are two things scarce matched in the universe…the sun in Heaven and the Thames on the earth.’ I like this quote because it contains symbols of both Japan and the UK. The sun representing Japan, Nippon, Land of the Rising Sun. The Thames, of course, representing the UK. Our nations complement and support one another and, to paraphrase Raleigh, our close and deep friendship is ‘scarce matched in the universe.’

“When we connect in financial and professional services, research, or any other area we will prosper.”

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