Local links with Japan to be strengthened

A new strategy to strengthen local links with Japan are to be announced today at the family home of ‘Scottish Samurai’ Thomas Blake Glover.

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Alex Johnstone MSP and Aberdeen City Councillor Ross Thomson will also talk about the city council’s plans to renovate the historic property in Bridge of Don to provide a fitting tribute in his memory.

Fraserburgh man Thomas Glover played a key role in the industrialisation of Japan in the 19th Century. His many achievements include bringing the first steam locomotive to Japan, introducing modern coal mining methods, founding the first modern shipyard which later became Mitsubishi and founding a brewery which remains a major player in Asia today.

North East MSP Alex Johnstone, who is also Convener of the Cross Party Group on Japan in the Scottish Parliament, commented: “This initiative has the potential to deliver substantial benefits across a broad economic and cultural spectrum.”

“The north-east is in an excellent position to deliver a unique product to the Japanese market.

“We have excellent trading opportunities, two world leading universities in the city, along with high quality products such as golf and whisky.

“A comprehensive strategy that recognises the importance of the relationship between Aberdeen and Japan could not only bring about economic success, but also play a major role in developing greater friendship and mutual understanding between Scotland and Japan.”

Commenting, Councillor Thomson said: “I am very proud of the important historical relationship between Aberdeen and Japan, especially with the city of Nagasaki.

“I believe that forging closer links through trade, education, culture and sport could bring substantial mutual benefits.

“For example, Japan is investing heavily in the development of renewable energy, and with the UK oil and gas sectors diversifying into this field, the opportunities for co-operation are huge.”