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On 10 March 2021, Asia House, supported by the Government of Japan, convened senior business and policy figures to explore the future of UK-Japan relations. 

'Japan-UK Relations After Brexit: Looking Towards a Closer Economic Partnership' discussed the findings of a new report by Asia House Advisory on the potential direction of bilateral relations, and the areas of opportunity emerging from closer economic collaboration. 


The opportunities emerging for the UK and Japan as their economic partnership evolves beyond Brexit were explored during the launch of a new Asia House report exploring this key bilateral relationship.

‘Japan-UK Relations After Brexit: Looking Towards a Closer Economic Partnership’ brought leading business and policy figures together to discuss the new report, which sets out a range of recommendations to help further the relationship.

In a keynote address, His Excellency Hajime Hayashi, Japanese Ambassador to the UK, said there was “great scope for bilateral cooperation,” and reaffirmed Japan’s support of UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Japan welcomes the UK’s formal request for accession,” he said. “Though individual member states have to be consulted, Japan – as it takes up the presidency of the CPTPP Commission this year – is ready to play its part.”

Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment, UK Government, also shared his thoughts on the relationship, emphasising the innovative elements of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), concluded between the UK and Japan in 2020.

“We will together raise the bar for trade worldwide in the 21st century, building on high standards and modern rules,” he said during a pre-recorded address. “I absolutely encourage both Japanese and UK businesses to take full advantage of the benefits that this ground-breaking agreement brings.”

The conference also heard views from Takehiko Nakao, Former Vice Minister for Finance and International Affairs, Japan, and Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Chairman, Asia House, during a high-level discussion with Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence.

Nakao identified opportunities for strategic collaboration in the Indo-Pacific, given the geopolitical fault lines emerging in the region amid US-China tensions. “There should be room for cooperation,” he said, including on shared challenges such as climate change.

Lord Green highlighted Southeast Asia as an area where UK-Japan cooperation can play a positive role.


“There is a huge infrastructure need throughout ASEAN, and Asia House has done remarkable work on explaining the enormous opportunities,” he said, echoing one of the recommendations in the report which cites London and Tokyo’s services sectors and finance pools as potential drivers of Asian infrastructure.

The report was also unpacked by Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory at Asia House and author of the report, who was joined by Yoshinori Katayama, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the UK; Sir Stephen Gomersall, Adviser to the CEO, Hitachi Europe; Minako Morita-Jaeger, Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory; and Gerard Lyons, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange.


Takehiko Nakao

Former Vice Minister for Finance and International Affairs, Japan 

Mr. Takehiko Nakao is currently the Chairman of the Institute at Mizuho Research Institute Ltd. Concurrently, he teaches as Visiting Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) and Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo.  


From April 2013 to January 2020, Mr. Nakao served as President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is based in Manila with membership of 68 countries including 46 regional developing countries.  


Mr. Nakao was the Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs between 2011 and 2013, and in charge of foreign exchange markets, G20 and G7 processes, ASEAN+3 financial cooperation, and bilateral financial relations with the US, Asian countries and European countries.  

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Lord Grimstone

Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, United Kingdom

Lord Grimstone was appointed Minister for Investment on 18 March 2020, with his responsibilities including developing a new investment strategy, promoting investment across all sectors, and increasing FDI and portfolio investment into the UK.

Before joining government, his career spanned the private and public sectors, including serving as Chairman of Barclays Bank plc and Standard Life Aberdeen; lead non-executive on the board of the Ministry of Defence; Chairman of TheCityUK; and member of HM Treasury’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board. Lord Grimstone has a particular interest in UK-China and UK-India relations, and has joined several Prime Ministerial visits, including the annual Economic and Financial Dialogues between the countries. He also chaired TheCityUK China Market Advisory Group.

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Sir Stephen Gomersall

Adviser to the CEO, Hitachi Ltd

Sir Stephen Gomersall is Adviser to the CEO, Hitachi Ltd, and is also a non-executive Director of the JPMorgan Japanese Investment Trust. After joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1970, his first foreign assignment was to Japan from 1972-77. He served there in total for fourteen years, including as Ambassador to Japan from 1999-2004. His main roles in Japan were the promotion of trade and investment between UK and Japan, the settlement of a number of regulatory issues with Japan affecting British companies and financial institutions and the development of UK-Japan cooperation in international politics and security. His other major assignments were in Washington DC, the United Nations, and on International Security Affairs in London during the post-cold-war period. He was knighted for services to government in 2000. 


Sir Stephen began his career with Hitachi in 2004, becoming Chief Executive and then Group Chairman for Europe until 2013, and the first non-Japanese member of the Hitachi Main Board from 2011 to 2014. During this period he was the senior representative for the Hitachi Group’s businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, responsible for Group Strategy and Business Development, including the growth of Hitachi’s European Rail Business, now globally headquartered in the UK.

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Yoshinori Katayama

President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the UK


Yoshinori Katayama is President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UK and is a Senior Vice President of Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Regional CEO of Europe (Business Development and Intelligence). He is currently assigned to London serving as Managing Director of Mitsubishi Corporation International (Europe) Plc. Since joining MC in 1985, he has held various senior management roles in the Global Strategy, as well as New Energy & power generation, and Energy & Electrical Systems divisions in Tokyo.


Having spent five years in New York in his early career with MC, this is his second assignment abroad. He holds a number of non-executive directorships at Mitsubishi Corporation Group companies including Diamond Generating Europe Ltd, Princes Ltd, Colt Car Company Ltd, and Cermaq AS.

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Dr Minako Morita-Jaeger

Fellow, the UK Trade Policy Observatory and a Trade Policy Consultant


Dr Minako Morita-Jaeger has been working in international trade policy for 20 years. Prior to her current work, she served as a research fellow of the International Trade Policy Unit of the London School of Economics; an economic affairs officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva; a WTO services trade negotiator at the Japanese Delegation to the international organisations in Geneva; and a principal trade policy analyst at the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) in Tokyo.


Her areas of expertise include: FTAs; WTO; Asia-Europe trade relations: trade and investment; services trade and regulatory cooperation. She holds a Ph.D in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics; an MA in European Economic Studies from the College of Europe in Belgium; an MA in International Law and Economics from the World Trade Institute in Switzerland; and a BA in economics from the Keio University in Japan.

Introductory remarks 

Michael Lawrence, Chief Executive, Asia House

Keynote speeches 

H.E. Hajime Hayashi, Japanese Ambassador to the UK

Video address from Lord Grimstone, Minister of State for Investment , United Kingdom 

Presentation of report findings

Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, Asia House  


Panel discussion: CEPA, CPTPP and the Future of Japan-UK Economic Relations 


Yoshinori Katayama, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the UK

Sir Stephen Gomersall, Adviser to the CEO, Hitachi Europe 

Minako Morita-Jaeger, Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory

Gerard Lyons, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange 

Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, Asia House (Moderator) 

High-level dialogue: UK Japan cooperation and the global trade order


Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Chairman, Asia House 

Takehiko Nakao, Former Vice Minister for Finance and International Affairs, Japan

Michael Lawrence, Chief Executive, Asia House (Moderator) 



(This is a draft agenda and subject to change)

Lord Green

Chairman, Asia House

Stephen Green is the former Group Chairman of HSBC, and served as UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment from 2011 to 2013. Lord Green was appointed Executive Director of HSBC in 1998, and held several senior positions within the organisation, including Group Chief Executive and Group Chairman.


Stephen regularly speaks around the world and has written on Asian affairs and global trade for a variety of publications. He brings a wealth of knowledge on trade policy and global economic issues to Asia House. 


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His Excellency Hajime Hayashi

Japanese Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Ambassador Hajime Hayashi was assigned as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland in December 2020.

Before coming to the UK, Ambassador Hayashi served as Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Secretariat of Japan. There he was engaged in navigating Japan’s external and security policies between October 2019 and December 2020.

Since he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982, Ambassador Hayashi has been assigned to a variety of posts both at home and abroad. In Japan, he has been seconded to the Cabinet Secretariat six times in total. Besides his most recent role, he has worked as Executive Assistant to the Prime Minister and as Councillor and Director-General of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination on Territory and Sovereignty. His other assignments in the Cabinet Secretariat include Cabinet Counsellor of the Office of Promotion of Iraqi Reconstruction.

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Ed Ratcliffe

Head of Advisory, Asia House

Ed Ratcliffe leads Asia House Advisory, and has driven the research and production of the

UK-Japan Relations: Moving Towards a Closer Economic Relationship report. 

Ed has more than ten years’ experience advising a range of blue chip companies, trade associations and public bodies on government relations, public affairs and corporate communications in Asia and Europe.


Before joining Asia House, Ed was Country Director of the Yangon, Myanmar office for an ASEAN-focused government relations and political risk advisory firm. Previously, he was based in Hong Kong, working on projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and China. Ed began his career at a government relations firm in Brussels, advising clients on engagement with the institutions of the European Union.


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Dr Gerard Lyons
Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange


Dr Lyons is one of the UK’s leading economists. From 1989-99 he was Chief Economist and Executive Director at Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank International, then the biggest bank in the world. He established DKB’s global research team, and was widely credited with predicting correctly the path of the Japanese economy and its move to no inflation and zero rates. He was a frequent visitor to Japan. He has also been a member of the International Advisory Board of ANA Airways. Currently, Gerard is a Board Member of Bank of China (UK), chief economic strategist at wealth manager Netwealth and sits on the Advisory Boards of Warwick Business School and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE and Imperial. He is a senior fellow at Policy Exchange, the leading think tank.

Michael Lawrence

Chief Executive, Asia House

Michael Lawrence was appointed Chief Executive of Asia House in September 2012 following a career in journalism that took him to the highest levels of international media.


Michael was Global Editor of Reuters from 2006 to 2012, leading a team of 3,000 journalists covering news in text, video and pictures from almost 200 bureaux around the world. Michael was part of the editorial team that delivered Reuters’ much-praised coverage of the Iraq war, and he ran the region through the turbulent years that followed.


He has an in-depth knowledge of the Asian geopolitical landscape and economic affairs in the region. 


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