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For the 16th time, on 20 May the German-Japanese stronghold of Düsseldorf will be transformed for over 600,000 Japan fans into a place for dialog with the culture and people of this Far Eastern country.
With some 7,000 Japanese citizens living in Düsseldorf, the city has one of the biggest Japanese communities in Europe.
With Japan Day, the state capital Düsseldorf – in cooperation with the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the Japanese community – is staging a major culture festival, thus establishing a unique tradition. Japan Day is jointly organised as a project between German and Japanese citizens.
The German-Japanese Economic Forum, which takes place in Düsseldorf on 22 May, reflects the importance of the economic relations between the two countries as well as the strength of the Japanese economic base in NRW and Düsseldorf where more than 600 Japanese companies build the biggest Japanese business community in continental Europe. This year’s theme of this business forum is “Innovation through Cooperation – New Success Strategies for Companies in the Digitalised and Globalised Economy”. The strength of this Japanese base in NRW and Düsseldorf with around 600 Japanese companies is underpinned by this event.
More than 7,000 Japanese citizens live in Düsseldorf – around one quarter of all Japanese citizens in the Federal Republic of Germany – a figure that confirms the NRW state capital’s importance for the relationship between the two countries. Overall more than 380 Japanese firms are based in the state capital; in North Rhine-Westphalia as a whole 600 Japanese companies employ around 32,000 people. In addition to the Japanese Consulate-General, Düsseldorf is also home to a dedicated Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Japanese External Trade Organisation, a Japanese school and kindergartens, and the Japanese Club with some 4,000 members. Japanese people are an integral part of Düsseldorf and play an active role in all aspects of urban life. The Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW and the German-Japanese Economic Forum have been taking place since 2002 and both events serve to build interpersonal, cultural and economic bridges between the two countries.
Düsseldorf’s Japanese community is intensively involved in the preparations for Japan Day. At this year’s festival on 20 May, visitors both from Germany and abroad can look forward to an authentic and diverse range of music, dance and sport, and some real Japanese culinary highlights. Traditional and modern Japanese culture and numerous typical Japanese sports will be shown on three stages. The Rhine embankment promenade will be lined with around 90 information, activity and food tents. Japan Day is also an occasion for international manga fans to come together, and features numerous manga-related activities and stalls. Many cosplayers will liven up the festival with their elaborate and colourful costumes. The highlight of the festival is the spectacular Japanese fireworks display: this year the theme of “Super Sport City” will conjure up numerous sporting motifs in the night sky above the Rhine. An apt theme because this year the Tour de France will be starting in Düsseldorf on 1 July, while the table tennis world championships will be taking place one month before (29.05.-05.06.). This in turn sends out a powerful, sympathetic echo in the direction of Tokyo which will be playing host to the 2020 Summer Olympics. Düsseldorf thus proves itself once again as a bridge-builder between the two sport metropolises.
The Japan Business Day will be taking place two days later, on 22 May, at the InterContinental Düsseldorf. The Business Day is a forum for high-calibre German and Japanese representatives from companies, associations and politics. This year, the event is devoted to the theme of “Innovation through Cooperation – New Success Strategies for Businesses in the Digitalised and Globalised Economy”. Small, medium-sized and large companies need innovative products and new business areas in order to remain competitive in the long term. At the same time, the markets are demanding ever shorter development cycles. Partnerships – be they with research facilities or other businesses – have become a major focus as a strategy for boosting a company’s ability to innovate. For German and Japanese companies too, cooperation projects are an option for achieving success in global competition. The Japan Business Day is organised by the Ministry for Economics, Energy, Industry, Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and Skilled Trades of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, NRW.Invest, the Japan-Tag Düsseldorf/NRW e.V. association, the state capital Düsseldorf, the Japanese-German Business Association, the Japan External Trade Organization and the Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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