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Christmas in September??

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Thursday 3 September 2009, and for the UKTI team in Tokyo it's ..... Christmas? Lush, the handmade cosmetics company, are celebrating their 10th anniversary in Japan by taking over my house with an advance Christmas promotion, inviting 500 guests to see the new seasonal range.

Andrew Gerrie is out from Lush London working the TV interviews. My kids are marvelling at the Christmas tree in the hallway, hoping they'll be left a candy cane or two.

Down the street, a great new development called "Brick Square" opens today, with the refurbishment of a 19th Century English red brick Mitsubishi building. Behind it there is a new English-style city square garden, and two new shop openings, by Jo Malone and Cath Kidston, both of which have also taken over my house in Embassy for promotional events in the last year or so.
It's been a big week in Japan for the UKTI team and for the Embassy. The Democratic Party swept to a historic election victory on Sunday night. The incumbent Liberal Democrats lost 200 seats, so it is a huge watershed for Japanese politics, and the country as a whole.

What does it mean for UK business? It's early to say, but there's a strong sense of a wish for more political leadership, and more support for the poorest in society. Japanese economic figures may be showing a recovery since the world crisis since last autumn, but they are not back to where they were, and unemployment has risen (although to levels below the US and UK).
In the meantime we're also working hard to secure Japanese investment to the UK. David Warren (Ambassador) and the investment team visited Toyota in Nagoya yesterday, to see the new Prius Hybrid manfuacturing line. This follows Toyota's announcement that they will build hybrid cars at their plant in Derbyshire - in fact a first for hybrid manufacturing in Europe. A great win for the UK, which I shall cover more on another time....
David Cairns, Director of Trade and Investment, Japan

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