Four new economic partnerships signed with Japan

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the signing of four new innovation partnerships between New Zealand and Japanese entities today after speaking at a business luncheon in Tokyo aimed at increasing investment in New Zealand.

The event was hosted by the Japan New Zealand Business Council and the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

The partnerships cover:

  • Developing bio-fuels from microalgae
  • Development of health supplements from AgResearch owned probiotic bacterium
  • AI and robotics research through Auckland University
  • Turning Undaria seaweed into high value products

“Japan and New Zealand have a long history of research driven collaboration where innovators leverage each other’s complementary capabilities,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand and Japan are economically linked. Two-way trade between our countries was valued at NZ$8.8 billion for the year ended June and there are many examples of long-term strategic partnerships between us.

“Today’s announcements allow us to further share our respective innovative expertise to the benefit of both countries. These sorts of partnerships will help to grow jobs and our economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

“The solutions and technologies New Zealand and Japanese innovators are working on have the potential to have significant global impact.

“The four partnerships in biofuels, renewable energy, artificial intelligence, medical technologies and robotics will help with the transition to a clean and modern economy.

“These partnerships all have the potential to deliver global solutions and in the process bring our science and business communities closer together,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Note to editors:

Hirojiren and Cawthron Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise Mazda’s commitment to building a R&D partnership focused on biofuels from microalgae. Hirojiren is a Hiroshima-based formal collaboration between the automotive industry, academia and government.

AgResearch and Shiratori Pharma have entered into a joint research partnership to develop functional foods and health supplements based on an AgResearch discovered and owned probiotic bacterium.  Shiratori Pharma aims to have probiotic products in the market during 2020.

The University of Auckland and AIST have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance research capacity including AI, renewable energy, medical technologies and robotics.  AIST (National Institute for Advance Science and Technology) is one of Japan’s largest public funded research agencies.

Ngāi Tahu and Kataoka Corporation/Sankou Foods have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to turn the invasive Undaria seaweed into a high-value product. This partnership will contribute to conservation efforts and generate jobs in the East Otago region.