30 Nov 2023
by Clark Vasey

Greater Manchester Leading the Way in Realising the Tech Potential of the Hiroshima Accord

By Clark Vasey, Chair of the UK Japan Tech Forum 

In the last three years we have seen a transformation in the UK’s relationship with Japan. With Japan’s commitment to a free and open Indo Pacific and the UK’s Indo Pacific tilt, increasing cooperation and building on the long-standing ties between the two countries is in both our economic and security interests. 

Beginning with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with its trailblazing Digital Chapter in 2020, deepening with the Digital Partnership in 2022 and culminating in the historic Hiroshima Accord signed my Prime Ministers Kishida and Sunak in May of this year. It could not be clearer – this transformed relationship has technology at its heart.   

The Accord sets out commitments from both countries to work together in critical technologies, specifically quantum and AI and includes new partnership agreements on cyber and semiconductors.  The signing of the Accord coincided with a new Memorandum of Understanding between Innovate UK and NEDO, with joint investment in shared research priorities only likely to increase further in the coming years.   

The depth and breadth of tech cooperation shows that both countries understand that aligning resources and expertise gives both a better chance in winning the global race for the technologies that will reshape our economy and societies for good.   

The creation now of a genuine Innovation Bridge between our two countries will bring science and technology advancements and drive further investment, trade and jobs of the future.    

To realise the full potential of the ambitions set within the Hiroshima Accord requires a genuine partnership between Government and industry to create the conditions for growth which are felt by all the UK’s regions.   

Greater Manchester, with its own clear strategy for growing its economic relationship with Japan, is leading the way in unleashing the potential for tech which the Hiroshima Accord delivers. Next month the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and the Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Bev Craig will lead a cross sectoral delegation to Japan to make the case for further investment, trade and partnership with the region.   

Tech is a central pillar of Greater Manchester’s ambitions with Japan which is why we are pleased to be hosting an in person UK Japan Tech Forum with Mayor Burnham and Cllr Craig at JEITA’s Tokyo offices to enable them to speak directly with Japan’s leading tech companies.  

Manchester is the UK’s leading digital city outside of London and the region is home to a £5 billion tech ecosystem, leading in cyber, IoT, Fintech, eCommerce and AI.  Greater Manchester boasts a significant footprint in sectors which are feeling the transformational benefits of tech in manufacturing, energy and decarbonisation.  The region’s world leading universities attract a globally competitive skills and exciting new research and development opportunities in science and tech.  Through the Atom Valley innovation mega cluster we are seeing the next frontiers of tech innovation come together across Manchester.   

The transformed tech relationship between the UK and Japan has huge potential for Greater Manchester, but it also has equally great potential for those Japanese companies of all sizes who come to the North West.   

The UK Japan Tech Forum was established by techUK and JEITA to provide the industry voice on Anglo-Japanese tech collaboration and we are delighted connect Japanese tech leaders with the opportunities which await in Greater Manchester.  



Clark Vasey

Chair of the UK-Japan Tech Forum, Head of Corporate Affairs at Fujitsu UK