Spring started as a Super Week for Team Finland in Tokyo, with the visit of 2 Permanent Secretaries, 6 seminars and 4 receptions taking place all in the week of April 9th, the total number of events including breakfast meetings and courtesy calls counting well over 50. The Finnish Institute in Japan also celebrated their 20th Anniversary in Japan during the same week.
Ms. Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Mr. Jari Gustafsson, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment were well represented in Tokyo, bringing along Finnish strengths and expertise in the fields of life science and technology. The two made speeches at seminars about personalized medicine and biobanks, biotechnology, Arctic know-how, climate change and nuclear waste solutions and met with their counterparts in the Japanese ministries and other key organizations. The last seminar of the week titled "Energy Policy and Challenges of Nuclear Energy" gathered more than 130 participants including the general public, showing Japan's interests towards ONKALO, the world's first nuclear waste disposal site. The total number of Finns travelling with the Permanent Secretaries surpassed 30 people.
The purpose of these numerous events and meetings was to follow up with the strategic partnership agreed between President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016 and to enhance cooperation and business opportunities between the countries. Among the many visits one of the highlights was the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland and Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, which will strengthen and promote cooperation for instance in health and elderly care and medical research in robotics and digitalization.
The Super Week also brought board members of the Finnish Institute to Japan, as Institute's Tokyo Office is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. A Seminar about Finland's next generation and well-being was held followed by a welcoming reception.
Although the hectic week went by on a whirlwind, only smiling faces remained at the end; Ambassador Jukka Siukosaari and guests gave cheerful toasts to Japan and Finland, which is after all, the happiest country in the world.