Minister for Business Heather Humphreys is seeking to maximise Ireland's exposure at the Rugby World Cup by leading a trade and investment mission to Japan.
She will be accompanied by more than 50 Enterprise Ireland client companies for the five-day mission to the Asian state this week.
It will focus on strengthening Ireland's longstanding relationship with Japan, Ireland's 11th largest trading partner, and driving the growth of trade between Ireland and Japan, a key gateway to the Asia Pacific region.
“With the unparalleled exposure of Ireland during the Rugby World Cup the Trade and Investment mission is an opportunity to raise the profile of Ireland’s trade and investment offering in Japan,” her department said.
Ms Humphreys is due to attend a series of meetings on key areas of trade, including digital and technology, life sciences and industrial, and financial services industry events. The agenda also includes a meeting with Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation.
The Asia Pacific area is one of the fastest growing regions for Enterprise Ireland backed companies. More than 600 Enterprise Ireland companies are currently exporting to the region with exports of over €2 billion, which increased by 80 per cent over the last five years.
The trade mission takes place against a backdrop of Brexit and with the Government’s policy of mitigating the Brexit risk through trade diversification.
Speaking on her arrival to Japan, Ms Humphreys said: “Against the backdrop of Brexit and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, it is an opportune time for Ireland and Japan to broaden and deepen our trade and investment links. Market diversification has never been more strategically important for Ireland.
“My aim over the coming days is to build awareness of the participating companies, highlighting their innovation and capability in key industries,” she said, noting exports by Enterprise Ireland supported companies to Japan reached a value of €216 million last year.
Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland said: "Our trade mission to Japan is targeting significant growth opportunities for globally ambitious Irish companies who recognise the vast potential of this dynamic and influential market."
Martin Shanahan, chief executive of IDA Ireland said: "Despite Ireland's close proximity to the UK and close economic relationship with them, we want to make clear to our current and future potential international investors that Ireland's investment proposition remains strong and wholly independent of political actions taken in the UK."
During the trade mission, Aalto Bio Reagents, a leading developer and provider of raw materials to the in-vitro diagnostics industry and to research laboratories globally, will sign their first distribution agreement with a Japanese partner, Veritas Corporation. The Japanese in-vitro diagnostic market has been forecasted to grow to $4.3 billion (€3.9 billion) by 2025.