Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kostas Fragogiannis’ speech at the Greek – Japanese Business Forum (Tokyo, 31.01.2023)

Distinguished members of the two Delegations,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am extremely happy and greatly honored to address today’s Greek-Japanese Business Forum being held here in Tokyo, almost three months after the fruitful visit in Athens of the high-level delegation of KEIDANREN, and the numerous contacts between Greek and Japanese businesses that took place then.

It is evident that this exchange of business delegations, within such a short period of time, underlines both the interest of our countries in furthering our economic and trade relations as well as the existing potential in the field.

I am also very proud – I have to admit – to be given the opportunity to present to you, together with my colleagues at the economic team of the government and PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself, the great news about the Greek economy and the current status of Greece as a reliable, strategic partner and as an attractive investment destination in Europe and Eastern Mediterranean.

Because it is true, that despite the unfavorable – to say the least – global economic environment, as a result of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the ensuing rising energy prices, supply disruptions and high inflation, Greece’s economy is sending out a message of optimism and hope.

Greece and our national economy is finally shifting towards a more sustainable path for growth. The continuous upgrades of the country’s credit rating by the major credit rating agencies, as well as the recent 7-year, 10-year & 15-year bond issues – all successful – confirm that our country is moving towards self-sufficiency and market-based funding. The return to economic growth in 2021, coupled with the inflows of substantial European funds via “Greece 2.0” Recovery Plan and the large amount of unused capital capacity, offer significant scope for the revival of private investment.

Distinguished members of the two Delegations, Ladies and gentlemen,

Greece and Japan share a long history of cooperation as bonds of friendship, common values and principles have helped us forge an honest partnership. This partnership was given new impetus in 2022, with the high-level visits to Japan of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Dendias, in April and the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Varvitsiotis, in September.

In 2021, our bilateral trade volume reached 416 million €, growing by 15% within the first 9 months of 2022. This increase is indicative of the positive prospects in our commercial cooperation. Especially after the signing of the EU – Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which guarantees Japanese companies’ unhindered access to the European market,  we expect the bilateral economic and trade relations in the coming years to flourish. In this light, we consider the Greek participation in the Osaka 2025 World EXPO an ideal opportunity to promote our economic cooperation.

Furthermore, as prominent maritime states, Greece and Japan are developing significant links. The cooperation between the Greek shipping community and the Japanese shipbuilding industry sets a great example thereof. Given that Greek ship-owners have proven their trust in the Japanese shipyards for more than 70 years, we expect Japanese shipbuilders to increase their interest towards Greek shipping equipment manufacturers.

The importance attached by both sides to their maritime sector is easily reflected on the steady and high-level presence of Japan in the annual Maritime Exhibition “Poseidonia” held in our biggest port, Pireas.

Regarding tourism, we look forward to further promoting cooperation in specialized forms of tourism, taking into consideration the preferences of the Japanese people. To this end we welcome the Memorandum of Cooperation on Tourism we just signed during our visit here in Tokyo and we look forward to a fruitful cooperation. And I think, we also agree that the reinstatement of direct flights between Greece and Japan is a priority, as it will not only facilitate the two way flow of tourists, but will also boost economic and trade cooperation.

In terms of investment, Greece is currently an appealing country for investment in various sectors, namely logistics, transportation, real estate, tourism, agri-food, energy, pharmaceuticals. Our focus is to make the best use of the tools offered by the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund, while our New Development Law provides for a series of incentives. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan «Greece 2.0» allows for co-financing (with European Institutions such as the European Investment Bank, EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD) of investment loans on innovation, green economy and digital transition.

In this light, we call upon Japanese companies wishing to invest in Greece to profit from the relevant opportunities. I would like to personally invite Japanese businessmen to show their interest in the Greek market, where there are opportunities for suitable partners and profitable ventures.

Distinguished members of the two delegations,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to conclude my short welcome by expressing optimism that this visit will contribute significantly to the strengthening of our cooperation and lead to the forging of a stronger and lasting partnership, adding to the long-term bonds of honest friendship among our peoples.

A sincere thanks to the people who worked hard to prepare today’s Forum and my best wishes for a successful and fruitful exchange of thoughts and proposals and initiation of potential partnerships.

Thank you.



Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic