On Thursday, 18 February 2021, an online discussion took place under the banner of the regularly held “Stammtisch” meetings organised by the Association for Foreign Investment. This time, the main guest was His Excellency Hideo Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan to the Czech Republic, who was joined by Czech Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Martina Tauberová, who serves as the head of the ministry’s European Union and Foreign Trade Section.
In his very detailed opening remarks focused on cooperation between Japan and the Czech Republic, Ambassador Suzuki summarised the investment history between the two countries, as well as future plans and opportunities in which both countries can successfully participate. Japan is the second largest investor in the Czech Republic. According to data provided by the ambassador, there were 266 Japanese companies operating in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of 2020. Those companies include, for example, Panasonic in Pardubice, Toyota in Kolín, Denso in Liberec and Konica Minolta in Brno.
Other data presented during the discussion indicate that in the first quarter of 2020, the value of Japanese investments in the Czech Republic amounted to USD 3.774 billion, of which USD 3.67 billion had been invested in manufacturing and the remainder in R&D and trade. Companies with Japanese investments employed more than 51,000 people during the same period.
Ambassador Suzuki also presented his country’s hydrogen strategy as a key issue for the future, as Japan considers hydrogen to be of crucial importance for decarbonisation, energy security and industrial competitiveness. According to the ambassador, hydrogen will become a future energy alternative by 2050 and technological development will accordingly take place in the areas of production, transportation and fuel cells.
Deputy Minister Martina Tauberová continued the discussion with an assessment of the cooperation between the two countries and mentioned companies and sectors in which Japan and the Czech Republic are successfully involved, especially in regional cities.
Despite the fact that, due to the current situation, the Stammtisch was held online rather than in person, it was well attended, which was thanks in part to the catering in the form of sushi provided to the guest by the restaurant Zátiší, not to mention the new and interesting information shared by both Ambassador Suzuki and Deputy Minister Martina Tauberová.
And what is the Japanese ambassador’s message for representatives of Czech institutions and companies? “Take care of the current Japanese investors and they will tell others about the outstanding experience they’ve had with the Czech Republic.”