Signing Ceremony for a MoU between The Nippon Foundation and Scottish Enterprise

Aberdeen, Scotland

It is a great joy to be a part of this signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on “Nippon-Scotland Ocean Innovation Programme” today.

Japan and Scotland have enjoyed a long history of exchange in many different fields of expertise. Coming to Scotland, I was reminded of a young Japanese man who travelled to Scotland to master a technology that was not yet known in Japan. With this technology and after years of Research and Development (R&D), the man finally succeeded in producing a fine distilled beverage.

For those who are still not sure what I am referring to, the technology the young man mastered was whiskey distillation.

After a century since it was first introduced in Japan, whiskey is now the beverage of choice to add sophistication to any occasion.

And now, Japan and Scotland will be joining hands to lead a different world, the world of offshore development. Today, I am proud to announce that Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation are launching a new joint R&D programme. This programme which will encompass a number of joint projects will support basic R&D research to foster leading innovation in offshore development.

This is actually not the first time for The Nippon Foundation to launch a joint programme with the Scottish government. Last year, as part of a human resource development initiative, we launched a joint programme to send Japanese engineer students to Robert Gordon University. The Nippon-Scotland Ocean Innovation Programme for which we are signing the MoU today, will take our partnership to the next level.

Offshore development is a huge frontier and this is where Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation will pioneer together. The two parties will provide equal funding of a total of 20 million US dollars to support joint projects that push boundaries and challenge conventions. The programme will serve to incubate new seeds of ocean innovation. World-leading experts from both countries will be teaming up to help these seeds bud and bloom into innovative offshore technology.

I would like to sincerely thank Cabinet Secretary Mr. Brown, and Ambassador Tsuruoka for your attendance.

Thank you to Dr. McGinlay and her team from Scottish Enterprise, for taking that first step towards increased bilateral innovation in offshore development.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Cabinet Secretary Ms. Hyslop for making the initial contact to connect The Nippon Foundation and the Scottish Government.

With the signing of this MoU, we are embarking on a definite path to innovation in offshore development. As for me, I look forward to the day when we toast to our success with the finest Scotch Whiskey.