East Asia mission

Trade and Culture on agenda

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop will undertake a five day visit to Japan and the Republic of Korea next week to strengthen economic and cultural links.

Ms Hyslop will meet with key investors across the renewables, subsea engineering and life sciences sectors. She will also hold talks with university and tourism bodies, cultural organisations and senior business and political leaders.

The links between Scotland and Japan date back 150 years to a time when Scots engineers helped the Pacific nation kick-start its own industrial revolution.

In 2016, goods exports to Japan increased by more than 10% to £460 million, making Japan the 19th top destination for Scottish exports.

Foreign direct investment into Scotland from Japan has accounted for almost 6% of all inward investment over the past decade. 90 Japanese-owned businesses at 135 local sites employ 6,060 generating a Scottish turnover of more than £1.8 billion.

Ms Hyslop said:

“My third mission to East Asia since 2015 aims to strengthen existing relations between Scotland and Japan. I’ll be exploring key opportunities for collaboration between our two nations in areas including trade and investment, culture, education and sport.

“The most recent EY attractiveness survey highlighted Scotland as the most attractive location for foreign direct investment, outside of London, for the 6th year in a row. Scottish Government visits such as this are therefore critical for Scotland’s global strategy to promote our unique assets to international audiences.

“Scotland has strengths and qualities that make it a unique location for investment. My message to our friends in Japan and Republic of Korea is that Scotland is a bold and positive country with the warmest of welcomes that is shaping a progressive, pioneering and inclusive future.”


The programme of activity, delivered by Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Scottish Government, will take place from 2 – 6 in Tokyo, Yokohama and Seoul.

The visit will build on progress made since Ms Hyslop last visited Japan in 2017, which included:

  • Nippon Foundation joint $20m R&D fund with Scottish Enterprise to develop new innovative subsea technology.
  • A summer school programme for offshore engineering students between the Nippon Foundation and Robert Gordon University.
  • Scottish healthcare specialists sharing expertise in caring for people with dementia and for an ageing population.
  • Collaboration between Scottish arts groups and Tokyo’s Ricca Ricca Festival for children and young people.
  • A programme of academic exchange between Japanese and Scottish universities.

Details of the engagement and all costs will be published on the Scottish Government website in due course.



Media enquiries

Back to top