- Day one of Minister Serret’s institutional visit to Japan, where she met with the governor and vice-governor of Kyoto Prefecture
event_note Press Release
Meritxell Serret i Aleu is now in Japan, where she has begun a four-day institutional visit accompanied by the Government delegate to Japan, Mònica Castellà i Pujadó. The first major stop was a high-level meeting in Kyoto Prefecture with the governor, Takatoshi Nishiwaki, and the vice-governor, Akimasa Yamashita.
The purpose of the meeting was to consolidate the existing good relations between Catalonia and Kyoto, which have intensified in recent months. As a result of this good rapport, the two parties have agreed that they will draw up and sign a bilateral collaboration agreement, the first ever between the Government of Catalonia and a counterpart government in Japan. Kyoto would thus become Catalonia’s main partner in the Asian country.
“The aim is to strengthen all these alliances that we have been weaving in recent years in the areas of innovation and emerging and disruptive technologies, in the decarbonisation process and in the commitment to green hydrogen,” explained Serret, who also highlighted the opportunities in“commercial relations” and in fields such as “health, biotechnology, gastronomy and food”.
All collaborative efforts in multiple areas, Serret pointed out, will experience a turning point with the opening of the Government Delegation to Japan, based in the capital, Tokyo. The Government, which appointed its representative this year, plans to inaugurate it and make it fully operational during the first semester of 2024.
In this vein, Serret trusts that this will“concretise this agreement of mutual understanding between Catalonia and Japan and take advantage of the opening of the delegation to continue building good relations between the two countries”.
New Japan Plan on the horizon
Currently, relations between Catalonia and Japan are very consolidated and specified through the Japan Action Plan, a programme that includes all areas of relationship of all Catalan Government ministries with the Asian country, and which is drawn up jointly with the Japanese Government. The current plan covers the period 2020-2023, and the next one, the fifth, is already being completed.
Before the session at Kyoto Prefecture, Serret and Castellà visited the Kansai Catalan Centre, in the city of Osaka, and met with the president of the organisation, Montserrat Marí. Founded in 1998, the Centre was the first meeting point for the Catalan community in Japan, and since then it has been dedicated to promoting Catalan culture and language in the five prefectures of the region.