Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech at a Greek-Japanese Business Forum in Japan

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attended and addressed the Greek-Japanese Business Forum organized at the offices of JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization in Tokyo, with the participation of Enterprise Greece. During the event, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Enterprise Greece and JETRO.

The speech by Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the Greek-Japanese Business Forum follows:

Your Excellencies, Mr. Sasaki, dear Vicky,

Thank you so much for organizing this event. I think it is extremely important to use all the opportunities at our disposal to bring together Japanese and Greek companies to explore mutually beneficial opportunities. And the reason why we arranged this trip to Japan has to do primarily with the importance we assign towards strengthening the bilateral business relations between our two countries. As was pointed out by Vicky, the Greek story is a very fascinating story of a country that is achieving a remarkable turnaround.

If you look at where Greece was five or ten years ago, it would be difficult to envision that today Greece would be one of the leaders in growth rates in Europe, one of the countries that is at the forefront of both the green and the digital transition. Yet this has happened. And it has happened because it is our firm commitment to change the underlying fabric of the Greek economy, to make it more extrovert, to open it to the world, to increase our percentage of exports as a percentage of GDP, but also to make the country an attractive destination for foreign direct investment into Greece.

And I think today there are many compelling reasons why a Japanese company would consider to invest in Greece. It is not just our unique geographical location at the crossroads of three continents. It is not just the fact that we offer access to the largest single market in the world. It is also related to the fact that our government is deeply committed to make the life and operations of every single foreign investor in Greece as easy and as seamlessly as possible.

We are committed towards delivering concrete results. That was also one of the reasons why we have streamlined all the investor relation operations within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Deputy Minister Fragogiannis, Ms Vicky Loizou, and the entire team of Enterprise Greece for arranging this event.

So when you look at Greece, you see a country that, in our mind, is offering very interesting investment opportunities across the board in numerous sectors, not just tourism. Of course, Greece and Japan are world class tourist destinations, but also in areas such as infrastructure, renewables services, areas related to the green and the digital transition.

You will have an opportunity to listen in a bit to Minister Pierakakis describing the importance we assign towards making the country a hub for digital transformation. And I think we have already achieved significant progress in these results.

So I do hope that this forum will be an opportunity for Japanese companies, japanese government agencies to find out more about Greece. But I’m also sure that this visit as a whole has provided an opportunity for Greek companies to meet Japanese companies and to mutually explore beneficial business opportunities.

After all, as governments, we can only be catalysts of investment. We cannot generate this investment on our own, we can create the proper conditions for Japanese companies to invest in Greece and for Greek companies to increase their footprint in the Japanese market. And I do hope that this forum will offer us the opportunity to do exactly that.

I wish you success in your meetings and deliberations today, and I am convinced that this visit will be a game changer in terms of our bilateral relationship with Japan. We had the opportunity yesterday with the Prime Minister of Japan to discuss a wide array of topics but also to sign a new strategic partnership agreement that I think will take our relationship to the next level.

So again wish you all the best in your discussions and hopefully we will see more interest by Japanese companies to invest in Greece, but also a greater interest by Greek companies to penetrate the Japanese markets. After all, we should not forget that Greek shipowners started building their first ships in Japan immediately after the Second World War. And in their own way, I think, have also contributed to the phenomenal success of the Japanese economy.

Again, Arigato, and thank you very much for your attention.