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Netherlands to help rebuild tsunami-struck Japan

Dutch experts are helping Japan to explore opportunities in greenhouse horticulture for areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami of nearly a year ago. Sustainable horticulture would not only aid reconstruction efforts, but could also serve as a model for Japan in modernizing its agricultural sector.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Maxime Verhagen, brought Dutch expertise in this field to the attention of his Japanese counterpart, Minister Kano, who originally comes from the region hit by the disaster. “The Netherlands, like Japan, is a densely-populated country that has to contend with flooding, and yet we are the second largest exporter of food in the world. That’s why Japan has shown great interest in our expertise in the fields of agriculture, foods, and water management.”

The delegation of Dutch experts will travel to the region next week, where more than one-third of the agricultural land was flooded by the tsunami, and where homes, public works, and a considerable portion of the infrastructure were destroyed.

Rebuilding presents opportunities
Applying Dutch expertise to Japan’s rebuilding efforts presents opportunities for Dutch companies. The rebuilding mission is one of the many ways the Ministry supports the top sectors of the Dutch economy in foreign markets. During Minister Verhagen’s visit, meetings were organized where Dutch companies in the energy and life sciences sectors could network with Japanese partners and investors.

Access to the Japanese market
Minister Verhagen addressed the difficulties Dutch companies can face gaining access to the Japanese market with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, Yukio Edano. According to the Minister, there is a good chance progress can soon be made towards lifting the ban on Dutch veal and poultry products.

Key investor in the Netherlands
Despite only moderate growth, Japan’s 126 million consumers present an attractive market for Dutch businesses. In turn, Japan is an important investor in the Netherlands. Japanese companies in the Netherlands have a combined annual turnover of €12 billion and generate employment for 34,000 people.