It could not have been a better timing: The 2nd joint New Year’s Reception (Shinnenkai) of the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (AHK Japan) and the Japanese-German Business Association (DJW) coincided with the lunar New Year and Chancellor Angela Merkels’ trip to Japan – a visit with signal effect, as she was the first of all European leaders to pay Prime Minister Shinzô Abe a visit after the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (EPA) had entered into force just a few days ago.
The Shinnenkai was hosted by DMG Mori – a worldwide leading manufacturer of machine tools with more than 12,000 employees and 157 sales and service locations, and a splendid example of German-Japanese collaboration. During a factory tour followed by a presentation by Dr. Masahiko Mori, President of DMG MORI COMPANY LIMITED, and Christian Thönes, Chairman of the Executive Board of DMG MORI AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, the participants had the unique opportunity to get to know the company and learn about its technologies.
The introduction was followed by a lively discussion of Dr. Ing. Mathias Kammüller, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG / Honorary Consul of Japan in Baden-Württemberg / Member of the Board at OAV, Dr. Jochen Legewie, Partner at KEKST CNC Japan / Board of Directors at AHK Japan, and Dr. Ruprecht Vondran, Honorary Chairman at DJW, who shared their views of the current economic situation in our both countries and the expected outlook for 2019:
Although Japanese and German businesses are facing several uncertainties (e.g. the outcome of Brexit, the developments in Italy and the risk of a global trade war), their expectations could be described as “cautiously optimistic”: A GDP growth in 2019 is estimated for Japan (by around 0.9%) as well as for Germany (1.4%). The numerous challenges for companies (such as digitization, globalization, a shortage of labour, corporate governance, environmental issues, cyber security situation etc.) could also be chances for cooperation. We all agreed that – especially in those turbulent times – it is of high importance to be able to count on reliable partnerships and that we should take special care of our long-standing Japanese-German relation.
The toast to start the networking session was proposed by Consul General Masato Iso, Consul General of Japan in Duesseldorf. Around 100 corporate members joined for informal talks and establishing new contacts.
We thank DMG Mori for their hospitality and look forward to welcoming many of you soon again!