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Intervento dell’Ambasciatore d’Italia, Gianluigi Benedetti, in occasione dell’Assemblea IICJ 2023

Dear Mr. Massimo Allegri, President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ICCJ),

Dear Mr. Davide Fantoni, Secretary General of the ICCJ,

Dear members of the Board,

Dear friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Benvenuti all’Ambasciata d’Italia, welcome everyone to the Embassy of Italy!

I am very glad to host again at the Embassy the annual General Meeting of the ICCJ, which occurs few weeks after the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Chamber last December!

Since 1972, the Chamber has been playing a crucial role in improving the economic relations between Italy and Japan. Together with the Embassy, the ICCJ has provided a fundamental assistance and support to our entrepreneurs who were coming to Japan, with a view of starting and developing business with Japanese partners in a variety of sectors.

It is also thanks to the work done over the decades by the IICJ that Japan and Italy can rely today on a dynamic partnership as well as on solid economic ties in terms of bilateral trade, estimated to reaching 15 billion Euros in 2022, and in terms of strong presence of Italian companies – nowadays more than 100 – in Japan.

Moreover, the ICCJ has been greatly instrumental to helping promoting Japanese investments to Italy and making the Made in Italy expand into the Japanese market, also through creative and innovative promotional campaigns, and to boosting touristic flows and people-to-people exchanges.

All these positive results throughout the last decades have created a much stronger bilateral relationship between Italian and Japanese companies, governments, institutions and societies.

Against this backdrop, when the two Prime Ministers Meloni and Kishida met in Rome on January 10, they agreed to upgrade our already strong bilateral partnership to a “strategic” level.

This meeting, which followed the announcement of the two Prime Ministers and the UK Prime Minister to jointly develop the new generation fighter plane, lays the foundations for a further qualitative leap in the relationship with Japan, representing potentially a game changer for the years to come.

The new “strategic partnership” will in fact pave the way to a deeper industrial cooperation and academic research, as well as to more business opportunities in many sectors of common priority interest.

Among those, let me mention in particular the green technologies, including renewable energy and hydrogen technologies; biotechnologies and technologies for health and wellness; intelligent and sustainable mobility; high-performance computing and artificial intelligence; robotics and mechatronics.

In this perspective, I believe that new opportunities for strengthening industrial and scientific cooperation between Tokyo and Rome – specifically in the field of digitalization, innovation and ecological transition – will be promoted by the implementation of Italy’s National Plan for Recovery and Resilience” (NRRP), as well as by the new Japanese policy measures. In particular, those aimed at expanding the internationalization of research, pursuing economic security through cooperation with like-minded countries and promoting a vibrant startup ecosystem.

Regarding the Italian Recovery Plan, the over 200 billion euros allocated in six specific areas for a five year period (2021-2026) will surely help catalyze further Japanese investments and reinforce the partnership between our banking  system and Japanese financial institutions, while potentially generating industrial synergies between our companies.

In this scenario, we must get ready to act and assist our economic structure and our entrepreneurs to catch all the opportunities, which will derive from this new phase of the bilateral relations.

The role of Chamber in the context of the “Sistema Italia” operating in Japan will be fundamental to guide our companies in their new investment decisions and to support our business to grow stronger and stronger in this important market.

While wishing the best success for the 2023 ICCJ activities and for the new members who will be elected today, let me conclude by thanking all of you for your commitment to sustaining the Chamber and steadily contributing to the promotion of Italy in Japan.

Grazie e buon lavoro.