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Intervento dell’Ambasciatore d’Italia, Gianluigi Benedetti, in occasione dell’evento “Italy Innovation Day Space” (Tokyo University Takeda Hall , 6 aprile 2023)

His Excellency Tsuyoshi HOSHINO, State Minister of the Cabinet Office,

Prof. Yasuhiro KATO, Dean of School of Engineering of the University of Tokyo,

Mr. Hiroshi YAMAKAWA, President of the “Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency”,

Mr. Giorgio SACCOCCIA, President of the “Italian Space Agency”,

Representatives of the Italian and Japanese aerospace institutions, companies and universities,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Buongiorno, おはようございます!


It is a great honor and privilege for me to inaugurate the first “Italy Innovation Day” an initiative dedicated to showcase Italian scientific and industrial competences in hi-tech sectors and promote networking with Japanese counterparts. We decided to start this initiative focusing on “Space”, a sector with high potential of cooperation that can strongly contribute to the strengthening of the economic and academic relations between our two Countries.


Centuries ago, we would look at the Ocean as a great “unknown”, wondering what lays beyond it. Today, we look at a new sea, wider and more challenging. Space is, in fact, the greatest and most complex of all explorations in human history. It requires cutting-edge technologies, flight and engineering expertise, and the ability to imagine and create. This level of proficiency necessarily requires industrial and scientific research, enhanced integration, more proactive cooperation and knowledge sharing.


For Italy and Japan, cooperation in Space is not a new endeavor. However, after the decision of Prime Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Meloni during their meeting of last January in Rome to elevate the relations between our two Countries to a “strategic partnership”, bilateral cooperation in Space has certainly become a priority, even an imperative, in order to fulfill the objective to enhance our bilateral industrial and scientific cooperation.


Since I took office as Ambassador of Italy to Japan, I have constantly strived to expand our relations and boost industrial and scientific partnerships in technological and innovative sectors. In this effort, the Embassy developed several initiatives to encourage a discussion between Italian, Japanese and European bodies and institutions, as well as private companies and academia. With regard to the space sector, I would like to recall the “National Space Day” organized last December at the Embassy in conjunction with Japan’s “Nihombashi Space Week”.


I was and I am strongly convinced of the importance to keep the momentum and today’s event and large participation of Institutions, companies and researchers confirms the great attention that both Italy and Japan place on the Space sector and our common strong will to exchange views, imagine together and cooperate. We are very happy and excited to welcome here, in one of the oldest and the most important academic center of Japan, more than 40 Japanese and Italian companies and over 15 research institutions from our Countries. I want to thank all of you for your presence and your valuable participation in today’s working session and B2B meetings! We are confident that the exchange of views and experiences that will take place today will generate new opportunities of cooperation, synergies and joint projects.


I also hope that this event will be able to create a community of businessmen and researchers with the same desire and determination to work together in the field of Space to expand the boundaries of our knowledge, strengthen our economic systems, and advance the wellbeing of our societies. We had the same ambition over 30 years ago – I was then a young diplomat in Tokyo – when we promoted the creation of the Italy Japan Business Group to build trust among our business communities and expand trade; and we met our goal: in three decades trade rose from 3 to 15 billion dollars!


In this perspective, I consider the technical arrangement that ASI and JAXA announce today as a very important step, the beginning of a long journey together. We can do more, we will do more, we will change the pace of our cooperation in Space. We have the capabilities to do so: our engineers, our astronauts, our physicists, our scientists and our entrepreneurs have a lot to share in terms of know-how, knowledge, ingenuity and creativity. Our challenge is that of pulling together these incredible common capabilities.


Let me conclude by quoting a Latin proverb: “Per aspera ad astra”, “through hardships to the stars”!