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Akemashite Omedetou gozaimasu! In the Year of the Dog, Japanese investors kicked off the 2018 business year in the new town hall on Marienplatz

Like every year, Invest in Bavaria’s traditional New Year’s reception was once again the very first event of the year held in the new town hall on Marienplatz for business representatives from Japan.

The networking event is a fixed agenda on the calendar of the Japanese community in Bavaria and it is organised in close cooperation with Invest in Bavaria, the City of Munich’s Business Development, the Japanese Consulate General in Munich as well as JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and the Japan Club Munich. Roughly 120 participants enjoyed the festive event in the small conference room that radiated shimmering beauty with Gothic splendour.


The reception began with welcoming addresses by the partners, first and foremost the Japanese Consul General Mr Kimura. According to the Consul General, there are currently about 8,400 Japanese nations living in Bavaria with roughly 440 Japanese companies. He was thrilled about the visit to Japan by the State Minister Ilse Aigner from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2017. In his opinion, Germany has a great deal in common with Japan and still has lots of potential for collaboration as the third and fourth most important economic giants in the world.


Dr. Hübschle, Head of Invest in Bavaria at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, expressed his satisfaction about the constant growth of the Japanese business community and mentioned that 2018 is a very special year for the Bavarian and Japanese friendship. Exactly 30 years ago the very first foreign office was opened in Tokyo, the Bavaria’s representative office in Japan. A series of events are being planned both in Bavaria and Japan to celebrate the anniversary event.


Ms Roider, Head of the City of Munich’s Business Development, explained the history of the small conference room that used to be exclusively reserved for royal families and the nobility. The fact that we celebrate the Japanese New Year there emphasises how much the City of Munich values the Japanese community.


Mr Watanabe, Director-General of JETRO presented interesting results of the JETRO survey on “Brexit”, among other topics. According to this, 25% of the Japanese companies surveyed in the UK answered the question whether they want to migrate from the UK due to “Brexit” with “Yes” or “Already in the pipeline” or “Under consideration”. Of the companies surveyed, 23 answered that they would prepare Germany as a place of business in the event of migrating from the UK, followed by the Netherlands which were preferred by 6 companies. We were also met with a keen interest in the current status of the reopening of the JETRO office in Munich. Mr Watanabe informed us that the talks were progressing gradually and he would be delighted if he was in a position to be able to say more about this in the next few years.


Finally, the Vice President of the Japan Club Munich, Mr Takeshita (CEO of Docomo Euro Lab), got a chance to speak and skipped the New Year 2018 to our surprise and jumped to the 40th anniversary of the Japan Club Munich in 2019. Mr Takeshita spoke with great pleasure about the number of business members being roughly 75 five years ago and it now being more than 100. This shows the high level of acceptance and appreciation by the business members for the numerous activities organised by the Japan Club Munich – Mitokai.

 

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and State of Bavaria award – a very special relationship with a long tradition


To kick-off the 30th anniversary of the Bavarian representative office in Japan, Mr Koiwa, Head of Munich Sub-Branch of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. Ltd. was presented with a certificate as a thank you for the good collaboration by Dr. Hübschle, Head of Invest in Bavaria and Dr. Geltinger, Head of the Bavarian representative office in Tokyo, Japan. The State of Bavaria and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. have maintained a relationship with a long tradition since the first agreement was signed between the State of Bavaria and the former The Bank of Tokyo Ltd. Head Office on 16 September 1988. At the end of the day, Bavaria’s first foreign representative office in the world would not exist without the Bank of Tokyo’s support. When searching for a suitable cooperation partner, the Bank of Tokyo was chosen back then as it was already represented by a branch in Munich as Japan’s leading foreign trade bank. And vice versa, the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ has had a sub-branch in Munich for 30 years and has remained loyal to Bavaria since then.


It is not an exaggeration to say that 1988 is also an anniversary year for the whole state. At the end of the day, Bavaria made the decision to set up a foreign representative office for the first time at all as a pioneer and trailblazer in many areas beyond its borders.

 

Tapping of the sake barrel


The New Year’s reception was once again framed by the traditional tapping of the sake barrel. All the speakers dressed in the traditional Japanese “Happi” for this and everyone had a wooden hammer pressed in their hand to tap the sake barrel together. The sake was distributed to the guests by the caterer just in time for the Kampai toasts together. The guests soon socialised and held lively discussions at the stand-up reception afterwards with Bavarian treats and delicious sushi.


We, the Japan team from Invest in Bavaria” are looking forward to encounters with “new” and “established” investors from Japan during the anniversary year celebrations!


KAMPAI (Cheers) and a successful 2018!

You can find photos of the event in our media library.