‘We are standing in the gate of a new era of Hungarian-Japanese relations. There are plenty of unexploited opportunities, and in the current economic situation, such reliable partnerships are more important than ever,’ Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday in Budapest.
The minister awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic to Sato Yoshio, Chair of the Committee on Europe of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). Mr Szijjártó underlined that the Japan Business Federation has contributed significantly to the creation of a correct image of Hungary abroad and to the promotion of the investment opportunities available in the country. He stressed that there are about 1500 Japanese corporations under Keidanren’s umbrella and added that the federation plays a very prominent role in Japanese economy, also in his role as one of the most important and respected advisors of their government.
In his remarks, the minister noted that the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine are driving the Eastern and Western parts of the world further apart, whereas now more than ever there is a need for unity. He emphasised that in the last 12 years, the world economy has fundamentally changed, with the hegemony of the West having come to an end, and the East has not only caught up with, but in many cases has overtaken it.
While 15 years ago 80 per cent of global investments came from Western and merely 20 per cent from Eastern capital, this ratio has completely changed now. Today in many sectors of the industry it is Eastern companies that dictate the pace of technological development, and their financial sources are also absolutely competitive. ‘It should therefore come as no surprise that Europe is fighting for the investments of strong Eastern companies,’ Mr Szijjártó added.
One of the most successful strategies of the government has been the Opening to the East policy
The minister then reminded that in the last 12 years, one of the most successful strategies of the government has been the Opening to the East policy. He added that since 2010, Hungary’s trade with Eastern countries has grown by 49 per cent, and in every year since 2019, it was from Eastern countries that the largest investments came from.
He underlined that this success stemmed in part from the great relations between Japan and Hungary— relations that have been developed with a lot of hard work, as this type of cooperation is extremely beneficial for Hungary. He highlighted that the government has signed strategic partnership agreements with six Japanese companies, and Japanese businesses represent the seventh largest investment community in Hungary, with 200 corporations providing 30,000 jobs in the country.
Last year, the government granted investment subsidies to 35 Japanese companies, During the pandemic, 26 Japanese companies contributed to the saving of 17,000 jobs with their investments. ‘It is an important goal for us that Hungary remain a local exception in the European recession, and for that we must keep up the pace in bringing new investments into the country,’ Minister Szijjártó emphasised.