3. German-Japanese Economic Forum, 2009


Germany and Japan: together out of the crisis - innovation in medium-sized companies as the key

Germany and Japan are moving closer together in the crisis - "Don't complain but seek opportunities for cooperation" - 120 participants at the German-Japanese Economic Forum at HANNOVER MESSE .

The global economic crisis has left its mark on Germany and Japan. All the more reason for greater interest in exchanging experiences and technological cooperation. The focus of this year's German-Japanese Economic Forum at the world's largest industrial trade fair was on the innovative strength of small and medium-sized industry and the "hidden champions" as the key to overcoming the crisis, under the slogan "Joint ways out of the crisis".

Following Japan's successful participation as a Partner Country at HANNOVER MESSE 2008, the bilateral forum was held for the third time in Hannover. The organizers (Deutsche Messe AG, JETRO Düsseldorf, ECOS Japan Consult) and moderator Dr. Vondran from the German-Japanese Business Association DJW were pleased to welcome a full house. Especially due to the crisis, the interest in closer cooperation between the two industrial nations Germany and Japan seems to have grown even more.

In his keynote address, Dr. Bettermann, Chairman of the Japan Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business, emphasized the great potential, especially in future technologies: "German technologies are in demand in Japan. Germany is a leader in many areas of environmental technology. Waste management and technologies are important fields with potential for the future".

So-called "hidden champions" are world leaders in their field in both Japan and Germany - often little known - with convincing and unique technical solutions. The high flexibility and innovative power of many medium-sized companies, some of which already have a very international orientation, enable them to continually develop new market niches and adapt to shorter innovation cycles - and make many of them market leaders in their field, at least in certain segments, according to Dr. Markus Hofer of Simon Kucher & Partners.

"In many places we complain about the export dependency of German companies, but it is precisely their export capability that makes them fit for the future," stated ECOS Managing Director Wilhelm Meemken in his introduction to the presentation of Harting Electric GmbH & Co. KG.

The Nagano Techno Foundation and Hanwa Kakoki (mixing systems for industry) were presented as examples from the Japanese side. Masahiro Iwasaki from JETRO Düsseldorf and Shinya Fujii from JETRO headquarters in Tokyo presented interesting offers of support from the Japanese government for foreign companies.

The conclusion of the concluding discussion was: don't complain and "bury your head in the sand", but actively look for possibilities of cooperation in order to jointly develop future markets.