Baden-Württemberg established its partnership with the Japanese Prefecture of Kanagawa as early as 1982. Numerous delegations from all areas of life, including public and business sectors, have since been on visits in Baden-Württemberg and in Kanagawa. Minister President Winfried Kretschmann and Kanagawa's Governor Yūji Kuroiwa signed a joint memorandum in November 2014 committing the parties to deepening a relationship which has now existed for over 25 years. In particular, the memorandum provides for extended collaboration in the fields of renewable energies, energy efficiency and e-mobility.
The first contact was made with the Prefecture of Gifu on the delegation tour undertaken by Minister President Winfried Kretschmann in May 2013. The Minister of the Environment Franz Untersteller also took part with his own expert delegation. Governor Hajime Furuta, Minister of Science Theresia Bauer and Minister of the Environment Franz Untersteller signed a Memorandum of Understanding. They agreed to cooperate on the expansion of renewable energies, energy efficiency, environmental technology and forestry.
Several expert delegations visited Baden-Württemberg and forestry scientists from Baden-Württemberg travelled to Japan in 2014. Concrete measures were then taken to implement the Memorandum. Governor Hajime Furuta and the President of the Prefectural Assembly of Gifu, Hiroshi Horaguchi, visited Baden-Württemberg in November of the same year.
Numerous other delegations from Japan have also visited the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector. An overview of the most important activities relating to the cultivation of international relations with Japan are shown in the timeline.
November 2014: 25 years of partnership with Kanagawa
At the invitation of Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, Governor Yūji Kuroiwa of Kanagawa, the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, Takeshi Nakane, and the Japanese consul general in Munich, Hidenao Yanagi, visited Baden-Württemberg with a business delegation. "This is a lovely occasion: 25 years of partnership and a joint memorandum with which we continue the good relations between our regions", said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann at the reception.
"With this memorandum, we will strengthen and maintain our relations in the areas of business, science, technology and education, culture, sports, healthcare and the environment, which we have built up over many years, and make a contribution toward better understanding among ourselves and in the world", Kretschmann affirmed. "Business and science relations will continue to represent the foundation of our partnership".
In the future, Kanagawa and Baden-Württemberg are to cooperate more closely on the further development of renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as in the field of electromobility. Governor Kuroiwa and Minister of the Environment Franz Untersteller agreed to this at their meeting at the Ministry of the Environment.
Furthermore, Baden-Württemberg and Kanagawa wish to take into account the particular challenges posed by demographic change and its effects on the healthcare sector and intensify their future cooperation in this area.
As part of the partnership's anniversary celebrations, the Japanese delegation along with other guests was invited to a reception hosted by the minister president and the Japanese honorary consul Dr. Mathias Kammüller at Trumpf, a company in Ditzingen.
At a business seminar given by the Ministry for Finance and Economics and Kanagawa Prefecture, the participants learned about future developments of Kanagawa as a centre of industry and existing business cooperation. In addition, there were discussions about further potential cooperation. The seminar was organised by Baden-Württemberg International.
The declaration of partnership between Baden-Württemberg and Kanagawa was signed in 1989 by then Minister President Lothar Spuath and Governor Kazuji Nagasu of Kanagawa. On the occasion of 20 years of partnership in 2009, a joint memorandum was agreed with former Minister President Günther Oettinger.