The North East has been celebrating 150 years of trade between the UK and Japan with a ceremony hosted by the Association of North East Councils and the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh.
Delegates from across the region met on Monday 22 June for the event in Saltwell Park, Gateshead to mark the occasion and further strengthen existing links.
There are over 50 Japanese inward investors in the North East. Significantly, 1986 saw major investments for the region with the opening of the Nissan car plant in Sunderland and the Komatsu Plant in Gateshead.
There are other strong links between the region and Japan. All our universities have links with the country including Durham which hosts the Teikyo University and Northumbria University which works with Kyoto University.
Mr Suganuma, the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh, Cllr Mick Henry, Chair of the Association, and Gateshead Mayor Cllr John Eagle all spoke at the recent event.
The Consulate General reflected on the historical events which have taken place during the last 150 years of trade and the benefits that this strong relationship has brought to Japan and the North East.
Cllr Mick Henry, Chair of the Association of North East Councils, said:
“Japanese investment in the North East has been important but it has also enriched the social fabric of the region. This is a chance to celebrate and reflect on the cultural and educational impact Japanese business has brought to communities across the North East.
“Looking to the future, I think we can be confident that the relationship will continue to develop and strengthen. Here in Gateshead, Komatsu City is building a Japanese garden in Saltwell Park that will be officially opened in 2011 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the relationship with Gateshead.”