INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP: (left-right) front: Japanese visitors Toshihiko Ota, Mayor of Toyota City Council, and Hirotaka Sugiura, Chair of Toyota City Council, sign the memorandum of understanding, alongside Councillor Dave Wilcox, Chair of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Shiraz Khan, Deputy Mayor of Derby City Council, and Councillor Ann Hood, Chair of South Derbyshire District Council.
Council leaders in Derbyshire have further strengthened a long-standing international link which has brought thousands of jobs and £1.4bn pounds in investment to the county over the last 15 years.
Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and South Derbyshire District Council are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their twinning with Toyota City in Japan which was established in 1998.
A year-long programme of events is taking place to mark the anniversary which was established when car giant Toyota Manufacturing UK built its first European factory in Burnaston.
Over 3,500 people are employed at the factory which supports a thriving supply chain and continues to pump millions of pounds into the local economy every year.
A delegation from Toyota City is spending five days in Derbyshire to discuss further ways of working together, with a focus on promoting the county as a destination for Japanese tourists.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by representatives from Toyota City and the three Derbyshire authorities during a ceremony at Derbyshire County Council’s County Hall headquarters in Matlock last night (Nov 18).
It re-affirms the twinning link with a commitment to explore further opportunities in economic development, tourism, the environment, agriculture and cultural industries, for the benefit of both regions.
Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our friends from Toyota City to celebrate an on-going link which continues to support thousands of jobs and bring millions of pounds into the Derbyshire economy every year.
“Signing the memorandum of understanding shows the commitment from all parties to work even more closely to identify and make the most of opportunities in tourism, industry and other areas.”
The Japanese delegation includes representatives from Toyota City Council, Toyota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Toyota Agricultural Association, Toyota City Cultural Promotion Foundation and Toyota City International Association.
Councillor Paul Bayliss, Leader of Derby City Council, said: “I am delighted that Derby is part of the twining ceremony to commemorate the 15th Year of our official twining with Toyota City. This cultural and diplomatic relationship is built on the firm economic foundation of the 3,500 jobs and £1.4 billion investment that has been made in Derbyshire by the Toyota company.”
Councillor Bob Wheeler, Leader of South Derbyshire District Council, said: “We are very proud that South Derbyshire is home to the Toyota Motoring Corporation and so many of its employees. The economy in the south of the county has benefitted for more than two decades since Toyota’s original investment. Long may it continue.”
Places visited by the Japanese delegation have included Derby Japanese Saturday School, Derventio Brewery at Darley Abbey, John Smedley’s factory near Matlock, Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Chatsworth House, Thornbridge Brewery, Derby City Council House, Derby Cathedral, Royal Crown Derby, Toyota Manufacturing UK, and Repton School.
Shigeru Teramoto, Managing Director of Toyota Manufacturing UK, said: “It is an honour to host a visit from our friends from Toyota City.
“Toyota City is known as an automobile city and we are proud to host them and showcase our capabilities to them.”
The Japanese visitors leave Derbyshire today.
Source: Derbyshire County Council