Yesterday I had lunch with the First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, Mr Daisuke Otsuka, and Andrew Steven from the Japan Local Government Centre. I’ll declare an interest, I love Japanese food and find Japanese culture fascinating so the opportunity to explore closer relations with Tokyo was one I had no intention of missing.
While talking about our respective countries it became clear that the were a huge number cross-overs; physically small, high population density, constitutional monarchy, economically skewed towards the capital city and famous for our adherence to protocol. But the thing I find most exciting about Japan is that, while having so many similarities, it also very different.
Just like London, Tokyo views the rise of the Chinese economy with a mixture of apprehension and anticipation, both as an opportunity and a threat. I can’t help but think that Japan may do better out of the rise of China than we will, when the Chinese start driving in serious numbers they are likely to do so in Japanese cars.
For those of you who know little about Japan I strongly recommend you take the chance to find out more, there is so more than raw fish (although that’s what I had for lunch, yum).