Derbyshire businesses were in the spotlight at the Toyota City Industry Festival in Japan.
Iconic products and services from Derbyshire and Toyota City were showcased in a bid to improve tourism, trade, educational, environmental and sporting links between the two areas.
Representatives from Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, South Derbyshire District Council, University of Derby and Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire attended the event to promote the county as a place to visit and stay, and provide information about small businesses which are looking to export to Japan.
Businesses showcased included Thornton’s, John Smedley Knitwear and Royal Crown Derby as well as local tourist destinations and of course, Derbyshire’s famous Bakewell puddings.
The industry festival is part of a programme of events taking place over the next three months to mark the 20-year twinning partnership between Toyota City in Japan, Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and South Derbyshire District Council.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration Councillor Tony King said: “We’re extremely proud to have showcased Derbyshire at this year’s Toyota City Industry Festival – we have a lot to shout about.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from one another, build links between the two areas to increase trade and boost tourism which are two key priorities of ours.
“We’re looking forward to the next few months as we continue to celebrate our 20-year twinning partnership with Toyota City.”
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, added: “Industry is at the heart of both of our cities and this was a brilliant opportunity to celebrate and share our successes.
“We’re extremely proud to be twinned with Toyota City and hope to continue this great partnership between our two cities for many years to come.”
The partnership was established in 1998 – six years after car giant Toyota Manufacturing UK built its first European factory in Burnaston outside Derby.
Since then, a series of projects and exchanges have taken place between Toyota City, Derby and Derbyshire on an annual basis, creating networks for future work between the regions.
More than 1,000 young people from Derbyshire have taken part in an exchange visit, staying with families, attending school, performing music and visiting significant sites such as Hiroshima and Kyoto city.
And to mark the 20th anniversary, the partnership is expanding the civic relationship to include the University of Derby, Derby College, The National Forest, Marketing Derby, Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. Professor Judith Lamie, University of Derby’s Pro Vice-Chancellor – External Affairs, said: “I have experienced first-hand the significant positive impact the relationship between Derbyshire and Toyota City has had on our city and county, and for us as a university.”