How strong are Japan-Dutch economic relations following the pandemic?
“The Netherlands, in the heart of Europe, is an important country for Japanese companies and investment from Japan to the Netherlands is increasing. We currently have 380 members, 20 more than we had last year. Despite the impact of the pandemic, we have seen very few Japanese companies close their offices in the Netherlands and while investment may have slowed, there are many reasons why the Netherlands remains a key destination for Japanese investment.”
• The Netherlands is in the center of Europe and is close to key economies such as the United Kingdom.
• There is a high-level of education in the Netherlands and the country has numerous leading universities.
• The Dutch people speak English, a common language which enables people to communicate effectively.
• There is a stable political system in the Netherlands and the infrastructure within the country is very advanced.
What is the role of the JCC since its establishment since 1965?
“The JCC plays an important role in terms of the Netherlands–Japan relationship. We provide a platform to connect Japanese companies and people and our networking role has proved very important, particularly during the pandemic. We carry out surveys amongst Japanese member companies doing business in the Netherlands and collect ‘voices’ to share information and concerns with the Dutch government and other organizations. We support the Japanese community in the Netherlands such as the Japanese schools and Japanese help desk (language assistance) at the Amstelland hospital in Amtelveen.”
What challenges have Japanese companies active in the Netherlands faced over the past year?
“In the short term, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability for companies to do business and companies’ performances have been affected. Our most recent JCC member survey (60% of 276 JCC ordinary member companies participated) showed that 40% of the responded members had been impacted in some way by the pandemic. While sales decreased, projects were delayed and there was a slowdown in logistics, there is a general feeling across the business community that the economy is starting to recover.”
“There is a ‘tightening’ labor market in the Netherlands, which is a cause for concern. Rent for office space has been going up but with the ‘work from home’ trend continuing, we will see how these progresses. Regulations in the Netherlands in terms of doing business are also tightening which is expected to have an impact on the ease of doing business.”
What are your hopes for the future of Japan-Dutch relations as the global economy moves forward from this very challenging period?
“People from Japan and the Netherlands share common values and commonalities. Both are small countries and each economy leverages their commercial endeavors. Both our people are highly educated and our 400-year history is a factor in keeping our strong relationship moving forward. The Netherlands is focused on ‘Smart city’ initiatives and sustainability is a key issue for both countries as we move forward into the future.”