Japan to remain Germany's key Asian partner

10th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 February 2005, COLOGNE - Japan's market remains the most important one for Germany in the Asian region despite the business boom in China, a top industry expert said on Thursday. "Japan is a factor of stability in Asia and will also maintain its top position in the future," said Werner Spinner, head of the "Japan Initiative" campaign group in Cologne supported by German industry. He said the next step in business relations will come in April, when German industry launches its year of "Deutschland in Jap

10 February 2005

COLOGNE - Japan's market remains the most important one for Germany in the Asian region despite the business boom in China, a top industry expert said on Thursday.

"Japan is a factor of stability in Asia and will also maintain its top position in the future," said Werner Spinner, head of the "Japan Initiative" campaign group in Cologne supported by German industry.

He said the next step in business relations will come in April, when German industry launches its year of "Deutschland in Japan" programme with the special aim of trying to get Japanese companies interested in the eastern German region.

"In the new federal states we have many opportunities for offering favourable production site conditions," he said, referring to the five states of the former East Germany.

Spinner, who is a member of the management board of chemical concern Bayer, which has six subsidiaries in Japan, acknowledged some image problems for Germany in Japan.

"The German market is not so crusty, bureaucratic and slow as some people in Japan may think," he said.

Another unfortunate problem is that the view still prevails among Japanese consumers that German consumer products may be reliable and of high quality, but that they are not as trendy or have as much "pep" as Italian or French goods, Spinner said.

"We want to counter this negative image with the Germany Year campaign," he said. "We want to show that our companies very much belong to the club of trend-setters with regards to lifestyle and design, be it in furniture, cars, or fashion."

In its presentation in Japan, German industry will be concentrating on the sectors of health, lifestyle, chemicals, environment and energy, Spinner said. More than 50 German companies will be taking part in the campaign.

"With regard to such topics as health, wellness, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, Germany has a lot to offer the Japanese," he said. Spinner noted that as an "aging society", Japan shares similar interests with those of Germany.

Regarding the environment, German firms rank among the world's leaders in such areas as waste recycling, the dual system of packaging recycling and deposits on beverage cans.

At the moment, more than 500 German firms are active in Japan, compared with nearly 1,050 Japanese companies working in Germany. Of these, around 470 are in the most populous and heavily-industrial state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

The Japan Initiative, founded in 1996, is supported by such heavyweight German business groups as the Confederation of German Industry, the Association of German Banks and the German Employers Association.

DPA

Subject: German news

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