Mexico and Japan are global partners that share many common values such as democracy, human rights, and free-trade.
Our strong economic ties are seen through the successful Japan-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement and our memberships in CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
Japan is Mexico’s fourth largest investor and sixth largest trading partner. It is also among the top destinations for Mexican agricultural products.
Mexico plays a central role in the global supply chain of many Japanese manufacturers, especially in the automotive industry.
Nissan, for example, has been operating in Mexico for more than sixty years and exports to more than 80 countries.
There are close to 1,300 Japanese companies operating in Mexico. Only a few other countries have more than a thousand Japanese companies.
Mexico and Japan have built upon friendly and cooperative relations with many cultural and people-to-people exchanges over the last 400 years.
Next year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Japan-Mexico Training Program for the Strategic Global Partnership. Approximately 5,000 students and young engineers from Mexico and Japan have exchanged through and benefited from this unique government-to-government scholarship program. Many business, academic and government leaders furthered their studies through this program.
We helped each other when major earthquakes struck our countries, Mexico in 1985 and 2017, and East Japan in 2011. Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), we have been able to assist with anti-seismic programs and earthquake countermeasures.
The many beautiful beaches, important historical and archaeological sites, and rich food culture found in Mexico makes it a top destination for many Japanese travellers.
Before the pandemic, there were direct flights between Japan and Mexico operated by two airlines, Aeromexico and All Nippon Airways (ANA). The annual number of tourists coming from Japan to Mexico was more than 150,000.Despite the pandemic, ANA has been maintaining its direct flights. I believe we will begin to see those numbers again in the coming years.
I deeply respect, appreciate and admire the Japanese immigrants who came to Mexico and other parts of Latin America 125 years ago. Because of them and those that followed, the Japanese are considered to be very hardworking, honest and faithful people.
There are more than 76,000 Nikkei (Japanese descendants) living in Mexico today, the third largest Japanese population in Latin America after Brazil and Peru. Through their communities we have been able to share our Japanese heritage and have a better understanding and appreciation for Mexican culture.
Lucha Libre, professional wrestling, is a great example of the cultural exchange that lives on between Mexico and Japan today. Many Japanese wrestlers come to Mexico to train themselves and there are a lot of famous fighters from both countries.
The 125th anniversary of the first Japanese migration to Mexico is a very positive milestone that I am happy to celebrate and I find the future of the relations between Mexico and Japan very encouraging.