Embassy June / July 2010

London 2012: Much More than Sport

Without question, the UK-Japan relationship is both broad and incredibly important to the economic well-being of both nations. This relationship provides many opportunities for the British Embassy and BCCJ members to further our corporate objectives. The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer a great opportunity for increased crossover between the worlds of politics, business, academia, culture and sport.

The UK government sees London 2012 as a fantastic opportunity to invite people everywhere to take a fresh look at modern Britain.

I’m proud to represent the UK. However, working in a part of the embassy where I come in contact with members of the public, I’m sometimes made aware of the fact that some people consider the UK cold, or stuffy, or old-fashioned.

We want to make use of the next two years of Olympic preparations to invite people in Japan to see modern Britain with fresh eyes. A Britain that is open, connected, dynamic and creative — all qualities in which the BCCJ is not lacking!

As we approach 27 July — the “two years to go” landmark — the British Embassy, together with colleagues in Japan at the British Council, UK Trade & Investment and VisitBritain are organising a programme of local events and activities designed to share the spirit of modern Britain in the run-up to 2012. All will be designed to allow the people of Japan to make up their own minds about the kind of country Britain is.
Increased UK-Japan exchanges are already taking place against the backdrop of the Games. Loughborough University and the Japanese Olympic Committee have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see both organisations working together until London 2012. Fifteen Japanese sports teams will use Loughborough University, in Leicestershire, and selected facilities in the region in the run up to the Games.

The wide-ranging agreement will not only benefit the university’s activities, but also develop cultural and business links in the region, and help raise Loughborough’s international profile. A market visit to Japan from the East Midlands will take place this July. Some 15 firms will participate, from various business sectors, in a detailed programme of meetings and events to help them meet potential customers and business partners in Japan.

Lloyds TSB Business has recently forecast that the Games will generate an estimated £21 billion for the UK economy, more than double the £10 billion estimated when it was first announced that the UK had been selected to host the Games. A successful Games, and with it the chance to showcase to the world the UK’s skills, innovation, creativity and enterprise, can only help in sending a message that the UK is a winner: a nation with which to do business.

For more information on London 2012 business opportunities, visit the Games’ business brokerage site: www.competefor.com