Brussels, 6 December 2022 – The first two days of the Belgian Economic Mission (BEM) to Japan were very fruitful for Flanders’ trade delegation led by Minister-President Jan Jambon. On Monday 5 December, FIT CEO Joy Donné signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with JETRO in Tokyo. This is the first cooperation agreement for the support of startups concluded between FIT and another international trade promotion agency. Still in Tokyo, on Tuesday 6 December, Minister-President Jambon endorsed a MoC between Flanders-based strategic research center imec and Japanese chip manufacturer Rapidus to cooperate in the field of semiconductor technologies. The government of Flanders entrusts Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) with the task of strengthening the cooperation between Flanders’ and Japan’s semiconductor industries.
Both agreements are centered around innovation and illustrate how Flanders is putting itself firmly on the map as a tech region – both worldwide and specifically in Japan. The Japanese industry is showing itself to be very open to various forms of cooperation while looking across national borders for Research & Development (R&D) partners. The new collaboration agreements highlight how Flanders is a crucial partner in this regard.
Flanders and Japan supporting startups together
In addition to connections with research institutions like imec, Japanese companies are looking for partnerships with high-tech startups. On the 32nd floor of the impressive Shiodome City Center, which houses Japanese technology giant Fujitsu, FIT signed a MoC with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The signing was done by FIT CEO Joy Donné and JETRO Executive Vice President Ichiro Soné in the presence of Minister-President Jan Jambon. The goal of this MoC is to facilitate the access of Flanders-based startups to the Japanese market while linking Japanese startups to Flanders’ strong technological network and the European market.
The MoC signing was followed by the endorsement of a partnership between Flanders-based scale-up SettleMint and Japanese tech company Fujitsu. The blockchain technology pioneer from Leuven will help accelerate the digital transformation of Fujitsu’s blockchain solutions. SettleMint announced this news the day before the Belgian Economic Mission.
On Tuesday 6 December, Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of imec (Flanders’ strategic research center for nanotech) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japanese chip manufacturer Rapidus, represented by Atsuyoshi Koike, president and CEO of Rapidus.
The goal is to work together on advanced semiconductor technologies. The intended cooperation was also endorsed by Flanders’ government through Minister-President Jan Jambon and by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI) through Minister of Economy Yasutoshi Nishimura.
As such, Flanders and Japan confirm their commitment to strengthening the cooperative ties between their respective semiconductor industries, with the government of Flanders entrusting this assignment to Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). Els Verhulst, Science & Technology Counselor for Digital Tech & Health Tech in FIT’s Tokyo Office, will be responsible for carrying out the task.
Minister-President Jan Jambon is leading a 258-member trade delegation from Flanders during the Belgian Economic Mission (BEM) to Japan from 5 to 9 December. During the five-day mission, which includes stops in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) is offering a startup program in addition to the official program for the first time during a BEM. In this context, Startup.Flanders acts as the ‘brand’ that brings Flanders to international attention as a startup hub, positioning itself worldwide as the gateway to Flanders startup ecosystem.