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City news, 05.10.2007 13:53

Japanese in City To Strengthen Ties

japanese_businessmen By Yekaterina Dranitsyna

Staff Writer

A Japan-Russia business seminar started Monday in St. Petersburg at the Grand Hotel Europe and will continue through Wednesday this week, focusing on traditional Japanese furniture, Japanese food, consumer goods, construction technologies and the business model of a Japanese restaurant.

The organizers believe the event should contribute to cooperation between small and medium-sized Japanese companies and local enterprises.

“The economic ties between St. Petersburg and Japan are becoming stronger, and it concerns not only large Japanese corporations but also small and medium size companies,” said Nobuko Kotani, Economic Department Attache at the General Consulate of Japan in St. Petersburg.

“That’s why we decided to organize this business-seminar, where local entrepreneurs can find out the necessary information on Japanese companies and business opportunities,” Kotani said.

The seminar was organized by the Japanese consultancy firm, President One, in cooperation with the St. Petersburg City Hall’s Committee for External Affairs and the General Consulate of Japan in St. Petersburg.

Representatives of 19 Japanese companies and officials of Takayama city are taking part in the seminar, looking for an opportunity to establish business operations in Russia.

Among the participants are the Nissin Wooden Factory furniture company, the Tenryo Sake Brewery, AE tea, Aroma-Foods, the consumer goods maker Maruhachi Towel Co. and others. These are small and medium-sized companies with an annual turnover of $5.6 million to $217 million.

The seminar is divided into three main parts — furniture and design, Japanese cuisine and beverages, and Japanese restaurants. The exhibition features both mass-market and expensive hand-made products.

“What makes this seminar different from other events of this kind is that visitors can not only take a closer look at Japanese culture, but can also find out about how traditional Japanese products and goods are produced,” said Hisaya Matsuhisa, CEO of President One.

Another advantage of the seminar is that is focuses on Japanese business models. Besides visiting the exhibition and presentations of Japanese companies, Russian participants of the seminar will have the opportunity to request individual negotiations with Japanese entrepreneurs.

“We hope this seminar will strengthen the ties between the two countries. We believe it will contribute to the dialogue and information exchange between our businesspeople, and we hope that in the near future we will establish a regular center for business meetings in St. Petersburg,” Matsuhisa said.

The seminar is part of the 4th Japanese Fall festival program. After completing negotiations with St. Petersburg entrepreneurs, the Japanese delegation will visit Moscow.

“The Japanese Spring and Japanese Fall festivals have become regular events, and now we are aiming at improving our ties not only in cultural matters, but also in the economic sphere,” Matsuhisa said.

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