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Making Nordic green technology big in Japan

  • Publisert 21.11.2011
What do you do when the Nordic countries alone are found to have a limited impact on the Japanese market for green technology and renewable energy? You gather them!

The conference Nordic Green Japan took place in Tokyo on the 7th and 8th of November, and brought Nordic and Japanese companies, research institutions and universities together. The event was sponsored by Nordic Innovation as a project under the initiative Establishing Nordic Innovation Representations in Asia, and carried out in cooperation with the five Nordic embassies in Japan and the Japanese Science and Technology Agency.


- One and one the Nordic countries are too small to be very visible in Japan, but together we can make an impression. The Japanese already see the Nordic countries as a pretty homogenous region, with advanced technologies and a high implementation of sustainable environmental politics, says Per Christer Lund, Science and Technology Counselor at the Norwegian embassy in Tokyo.


The idea was born in 2010, inspired by a similar conference in California, Nordic Green Japan was agreed to be a meeting arena between Nordic and Japanese actors within green technology and renewable energy. The response became even more positive after the earthquake in March earlier this year.


450 attendees from 100 Japanese and 40 Nordic companies were represented on the conference. Included in this number were researchers from institutions and universities as well as governmental representatives.


- Many events were postponed or cancelled after the earthquake. Nordic Green was one of the largest international arrangements to be arranged, in that way the timing was perfect, Lund states.


Nordic region – a green frontrunner

Besides creating a platform for cooperation and exchanging of ideas and concepts, the purpose of Nordic Green Japan is to enhance the reputation of the Nordic countries as proactive and in forefront when it comes to developing and deploying green technologies and policies as well as facilitating business development for Nordic companies in Japan, but also for Japanese companies to enter the European green tech market using the Nordic region as a gateway.


Representatives from all the Nordic countries got the opportunity to promote their technologies and expertise. The themes for the break-out sessions were specifically selected to meet relevant interests for each country, such as geothermal energy (Iceland), wind and osmotic energy, (Norway and Denmark) and bio energy (Finland and Sweden).


- While we have many similarities, we also supplement each other in many ways, Lund points out.


When developing a website for the event, the URL was specifically chosen so that it can be reused for other Nordic Green events in Japan or elsewhere in Asia.


The event was covered actively by Japanese media. In connection with the conference a number of business meetings and side events took place as well.


- Our main goal was to spread the information about Nordic green technology and skills, which we can say that we achieved. The ambition now is to maintain the website as a platform for exchanging ideas and knowledge, and also for continuing the relations that were created during the conference. In addition, the site is functioning as a virtual library for Nordic environmental technologies and as a base for potential Nordic Green conferences in the future – in Japan or somewhere else, Per Christer Lund concludes.


The Nordic Council of Minister’s globalization initiative Establishing Nordic Innovation Representations in Asia has piloted a number of projects in China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Among these projects the concept of promoting Nordic capabilities within clean-tech has morphed into the concept of Nordic Green, in accordance with the Nordic Council of Minister’s recent announcement of making the Nordic region a global frontrunner when it comes to green growth.


- Cooperation and partnerships with Asian companies are important aspects for reaching this goal and the Nordic Green events are valuable building blocks, says Jørn Bang Andersen, programme manager for Establishing Nordic Innovation Representations in Asia and Senior Innovation Adviser at Nordic Innovation.