Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann visiting Tohoku University
From July 7 to 11, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann is visiting Japan with an economic delegation as part of the celebrations to mark 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Switzerland. The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER will hold talks with his Japanese colleagues to take stock following the first five years of the free trade agreement between the two countries.
Japan is an important strategic partner for Switzerland in Asia. As Switzerland’s fifth largest trading partner (after the EU, USA, China and Hong Kong), it is both a major market for Swiss exports and a supplier of numerous hi-tech components. Furthermore, within Asia, Japan is the most important research partner for Switzerland; more than 70 agreements exist between Swiss and Japanese universities and research institutes.
Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann will attend talks in Tokyo with a number of people, including Akira Amrai, Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Agriculture, and Hakubun Shimomura, Minister for Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology. He will also open the first Business Innovation Forum, which will be attended by representatives from science, economic and innovation promotion circles.
During the second part of the trip, the Swiss delegation will visit the north-eastern part of Japan hit by the triple disaster of 11 March 2011. Mr Schneider-Ammann will be the first member of a state government to visit the health centre in the town of Onagawa, which was reconstructed with the help of the Swiss Solidarity fundraising hotline, the Swiss Red Cross and Caritas Switzerland. The whole delegation will also visit Tohoku University‘s WPI-AIMR (Advanced Institute for Material Research), which has close ties to several researchers in Switzerland.
Mr. Walter Steinlin, President of the CTI, is part of the official delegation. Additionally to the official program he will be a speaker at the Business Innovation Forum and participate at an embassy-organized workshop on Industry-Academia Collaboration where other speakers include the president of JST, Dr. Nakamura, as well as, the President of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor Mishima, and Dr. Karlsson, VP of Elsevier Japan.