Iceland and Japan Launch High-Tech Cooperation Skip to content

Iceland and Japan Launch High-Tech Cooperation

At meetings between Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson, Japanese ministers, the executives of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and representatives of Japanese investment funds last week, it was decided to launch Icelandic-Japanese cooperation in the field of energy and green high-tech industry.

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Skarphédinsson and Japanese Minister for the Economy, Industry and Trade Akihiro Ohata (sitting at opposite ends at the center of the table) discuss Icelandic-Japanese cooperation. Courtesy of the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Japanese Minister for the Economy, Industry and Trade Akihiro Ohata emphasized that the foreign ministers of both countries should work together on projects regarding geothermal energy in Japan, Iceland and the developing countries, a press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs states.

Ohata is one of the most influential politicians in Japan and the chairman of the MP friend association between Japan and Iceland in Diet, the Japanese parliament.

Ohata expressed interest in reinforcing this agreement with operations in Iceland with participation from Japanese companies and investors as well as interest in Icelandic and Japanese companies cooperating on projects regarding energy harnessing in developing countries, including Eastern Africa, Latin America and Indonesia, where both counties are already active.

Skarphédinsson explained that in such cooperation Iceland would contribute knowledge of geothermal energy and the contacts of the United Nations University Geothermal Training Program in Iceland, while Japan would contribute technological knowledge, funding and turbines.

That way the energy problems these countries are facing could be solved while at the same time decreasing greenhouse emissions. The Japanese government has already devoted extensive amounts to green investments in the developing countries.

The possibility of further projects by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Iceland was also discussed; the company has for years provided turbines for Icelandic hydro and geothermal power plants.

At Skarphédinsson’s meeting with CEO of Mitsubishi Hideaki Omiya and the company’s deputy CEO Ichiko Fukue, the possibility of using electric cars in Iceland was mentioned, along with production of biodiesel from the exhaust of factories and the feasibility of developing battery-powered trains in Iceland, for example between Reykjavík and Keflavík International Airport.

Skarphédinsson also formally thanked Japanese authorities on behalf of the Icelandic government for their support of the International Monetary Fund’s economic stabilization program for Iceland.

At a recent 300-person conference held by the Icelandic Embassy in Tokyo in cooperation with Japanese authorities, companies and investment funds on the harnessing of geothermal energy, the idea surfaced among Japanese parties that Icelandic engineers would investigate whether there is a basis for constructing a heating utility with Japanese companies in the city Aomori in north Japan. Further meetings followed.

Following Skarphédinsson’s visit to Japan, an inter-country task force will be founded to execute the projects agreed upon. The Icelandic Embassy in Japan will lead the project on behalf of Iceland along with Japanese and Icelandic energy companies and engineer agencies.

Click here to read more about Icelandic energy affairs in foreign countries.

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