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Scotland and Yokohama sign joint action pact
The Scottish Government and the City of Yokohama have signed a joint declaration on collaboration, in the areas of culture and tourism, marine and subsea industries, and sports and education, under the principle of “growing together.”
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, penned the deal with Mayor Fumiko Hayashi on 4th July, marking the first such declaration between the Scottish government and a Japanese local government.
The pact is designed to strengthen the ties between Scotland and Yokohama, which were forged in the mid-19th century. For example, at the signing, Hayashi noted the “great contribution” by Richard Henry Brunton to Yokohama’s development 150 years ago.
In addition to building lighthouses—the reason for his deployment to Japan from Edinburgh—Brunton drew the first detailed maps of Yokohama; planned its sewage, street, gas light and telegraph systems; and built its first iron bridge, for which he received an audience with the emperor, in 1871.
As Japan’s second-largest city and main sea port, Yokohama is an important economic partner for Scotland, whose exports to Japan increased by more than 10% in 2016 to reach £460 million.
Moreover, the city has been chosen as the official team camp for the Scotland and Ireland national teams in the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019 and as a preparation camp for Team GB during Tokyo 2020.
Speaking at the event while on a five-day trade and culture mission to Japan, Hyslop said the declaration “presents an excellent opportunity to celebrate our connections, and exchange knowledge and expertise.”
She called on both sides “to seize shared opportunities and meet common challenges as both our countries look to address the growing needs of the global market. Having recently launched Scotland is Now, our global drive to put Scotland at the top of everyone’s list of places to live, work, visit, invest and study, there may be many opportunities as a result of this agreement with Yokohama City.”
Hayashi said the pact, combined with the RWC 2019 and Tokyo 2020, provides opportunities for Scotland and Yokohama to strengthen their “bonds of friendship by deepening exchanges among citizens as well as between businesses.”
Efforts under the declaration include supporting culture and tourism, promoting networking between related firms and institutions in the marine and subsea industries, bolstering exchanges by capitalising on the opportunities offered by the RWC 2019 and Tokyo 2020, and encouraging university partnerships, including student and academic exchanges.