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Japanese Industry Giant in Talks with Aberdeen

02 November 2010

Future business opportunities for Aberdeen and Nagasaki will be discussed tomorrow [Wednesday, 3 November] when a Japanese delegation including the Mayor of Nagasaki and a senior Mitsubishi official meet renewable energy experts in Aberdeen.

Mayor of Nagasaki Tomihisa Taue and Kazuo Soma, head of both Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries, and Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works will meet with the Aberdeen Renewable Energies Group (AREG) and Aberdeen City Council’s Director of Enterprise Planning and Infrastructure Gordon McIntosh.

They will discuss areas of mutual interest and possible future co-operation between Nagasaki and Aberdeen as Europe’s energy capital.

As well as being interested in North Sea oil and gas fields, Mitsubishi has recently diversified to become a major player in renewable energy – wind energy in particular. This is an area in which Aberdeen, as the energy capital of Europe, is very well placed to flourish and lead the market.

The two cities signed a Citizen Friendship Agreement in July, cementing the already strong links between Aberdeen and Nagasaki, and further strengthening business links which have been forged over many years.

In the last 12 months the relationship between Nagasaki and Aberdeen has been further strengthened, culminating in this week’s visit by the Japanese delegation.
The two cities have had a shared interest in the Scottish Samurai, Thomas Blake Glover, who was one of the founding fathers of Mitsubishi. He is still held in extremely high regard in Nagasaki.

The link between Mitsubishi and Aberdeen dates back to the 1870s when Glover sourced a number of ships from the Halls shipyard in Aberdeen. At that time Halls operated a patented dry dock system and Glover commissioned a replica to be built and installed in Nagasaki so that the Japanese could build their own fleet.

This was to be the start of Mitsubishi as one of the world’s major shipbuildling firms. The maritime link between Aberdeen and Nagasaki has stimulated the company’s interest in North Sea oil and gas fields.

Mr McIntosh said: “In Aberdeen, being the energy capital of Europe, we’ve had our stall set out quite clearly now for more than 10 years. We want to be and will be serious players in renewable energy and this important work with the Nagasaki delegation is just one part of the ongoing programme to achieve that role.

“Aberdeen has the experience, the expertise, the business base and links, the facilities and the people to really be a shining light in the renewables sector, just as we have been for many years in the oil and gas sector.”

The delegation, which met with representatives of Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University yesterday, will also visit Aberdeen Harbour Board.

They will have lunch with Aberdeen Lord Provost Peter Stephen at the Town House, before Mayor Taue receives a special tartan gift from the City of Aberdeen.

The full highland wear outfit including a kilt made from Glover tartan supplied by Alex Scott & Co Kiltmakers, will be presented before the mayor heads back to Japan at the end of his three-day visit.