Czech Republic and Japan, ever closer

Leaders share their insights on Czech-Japan relations

“As the global economy faces drastic changes, technology and innovation is increasingly becoming an important area of cooperation between the Czech Republic and Japan. JETRO Prague supports open innovation between Czech and Japanese companies toward accelerating green and digital transformation.”

“Japanese companies play an important role in the Czech economy, especially contributing to strengthening the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry. I expect to see growth of business opportunities in the fields of carbon neutrality and digitalization, such as energy saving equipment, factory automation, robotics and so on.”

Go Shimuta, Director-General, JETRO Praha

“We foster economic exchanges between Japan and the Czech Republic by informing Czech companies about Japanese business opportunities and practices in order to help them to enter the Japanese market. Cooperating with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tokyo, we’ve organized several well-attended business and networking events and we are able to provide professional business services to Czech companies operating in Japan. Information and communications technology, nano technology, and energy are the key areas of interest of our members today.”

Roman Watanabe, Chairman, Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (CCCIJ)

“Being at the center of Europe, physically and symbolically is a great advantage for the Czech Republic. It only takes up to two and a half hours by plane to get anywhere in Europe from the Czech Republic. The delivery of goods and supplies to or from Czech Republic to other parts of Europe can be done relatively quickly.”

“We have a highly educated and technically skilled labour force with much more competitive salary levels when compared to our neighbours Germany and Austria or western European countries.”

“Czech Republic is consistently ranked as one of the safest countries in the world.”

“We were the industrial base of the Austro-Hungarian empire and today continue to be the most industrial country in the European Union (EU).”

“We have 107 Japanese manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic. By far we are the most successful in attracting Japanese investment in the manufacturing sector per capita in Europe.”

“Our efforts today are directed at pursuing high-value added projects, such as research and development.”

“The Czech government offers incentives for manufacturing, the development of technology hubs and shared service centers.”

“We also have access to EU funds directed at modernization to help economies restart after the COVID crisis.”

“The quality-of-life index for Czech Republic is the number one in the CEE (Central and Eastern European) region and is among the highest in the world.”

Ondrej Votruba, Executive Director, Association for Foreign Investment – AFI

“We recently completed an R&D project with Japanese company Gigaphoton Inc, carried out under the memorandum of cooperation between the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) of Japan. We continue to collaborate to push its industrial application forward.”

“The laser technology we develop can support semiconductor manufacturing as well as circular economy in many ways, like contributing to the development of better, more durable and smart materials.”

The HiLASE Centre has hosted many Japanese university students and we warmly invite more to come and collaborate with us.

Tomas Mocek, Head of HiLASE Centre

“There is a growing demand for the high-end products we manufacture in Czech Republic, especially from the semiconductor industry in Europe, and our business has doubled since 2020. The standard of living in the Czech Republic has increased so much that European professionals from countries like Spain and Italy are moving here because they find higher paying opportunities.”

Dr. Peter Oberta, Managing Director Rigaku Innovative Technologies Europe s.r.o.

“Japan has been a long-term investment partner for the Czech Republic. Japanese companies have been making significant investments and creating jobs in the Czech Republic, in particular after 2002 when Toyota was established in the Czech Republic. Highly skilled labour and strong support by the Czech government has been valuable and attractive for many Japanese companies desiring to create high added value products.”

Keisuke Saito, Head of Japanese Desk at KPMG Czech Republic

Japanese investment into the Czech Republic was booming from 2001, just before we joined the European Union, all the way to the global financial crisis. In this period, we attracted most of the approximately 270 Japanese companies invested in the Czech Republic today, which employ close to 50,000 people.

Many of these companies have reinvested over the years into expanding their facilities. Two recent examples are Panasonic, which is introducing a new production portfolio in Czech Republic to strengthen their European operations and Toyota, which took full ownership of the former Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile joint-venture operations in Kolin. Apart from investments to improve their production plant, Toyota is also planning to introduce the production of new models and hybrid engines in Czech Republic.

As Europe switches towards green mobility and drives decarbonization, our Japanese foreign investors, especially those in the manufacturing industry, must think of ways to lower their carbon emissions.

In line with the innovation strategy for Czech Republic to become one of the top 10 most innovative countries in Europe by 2025 and top 7 by 2030, we are focused on attracting more high-value investments and collaborations. There are many promising Czech companies and innovations for Japanese venture capital firms to invest in.

Richard Schneider, Director for Japanese Operations, CzechInvest

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