This blog post was published under the 2015 to 2024 Conservative government

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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

6th December 2017 Tokyo, Japan

Nagoya means business

Chubu, the region centred on Nagoya, may be only Japan’s third conurbation. But if it was a country it would be a member of G20. And Greater Nagoya, an industrial powerhouse, produces 1% of the entire world’s GDP.

So, not surprisingly, business was a big focus of my recent visit, together with Sarah Wooton, our Consul General in Osaka. I addressed a well-attended meeting of the Chukeiren Chubu Economic Organisation. Inevitably, there were lots of questions about Brexit. Japanese businesses, who are the second largest non-European investors in Britain, are generally very well informed on the detail. I reassured them that the British government shares their wish to see continuing tariff-free, frictionless access to the Single Market, that we aimed to avoid new regulatory barriers and that they would continue to have access to global talent. In short Britain would remain a great place for them to do business.

I visited Denso and Aishin, two very significant automotive supply chain companies, with plants in the UK. As the home of Toyota, the Nagoya region is a huge automotive hub. We talked about future trends in the industry around low carbon propulsion, and connected and autonomous vehicles, and I noted that the UK was making significant investments in these areas, as automotive was a key sector in our new industrial strategy.

I had lunch with the President of Nagoya University, where the British Council is actively engaged in providing English language training and curriculum development. Then I gave a lecture on UK/Japan relations to a packed hall of students. Afterwards a number of them stayed behind for a more informal discussion, including half a dozen exchange students from the UK, who told me how much they were enjoying being in Japan.

As usual when I travel around Japan, I called on the local Governor and the City Mayor. We discussed the legacy of the prefecture having hosted the Aichi World Expo in 2005, when I had been the lead official in London for the British Pavilion. And the Japan British Society and Nagoya Chamber of Commerce kindly organised a reception for me. It is always fun to meet people with so many different kinds of engagement with Britain: academics specialising in Shakespeare and Pinter; Toyota staff who had worked at the plant in Derby; and the local newspaper editor who had been a young foreign correspondent in London in the Thatcher years.

We rounded off our visit to the Chubu region by spending Saturday hiking the Nakasendo, one of the two great historical highways which traversed Japan. As we wound our way through the mountains between picturesque post towns, the magnificent Autumn colours reminded us why the seasons play such an important role in Japanese life.

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.