As Hong Kong celebrates the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, I am delighted that our bilateral relations with Japan continue to grow from strength to strength.
Last year, Japan was our fourth-largest trading partner globally and there were more than 1,300 Japanese companies operating in Hong Kong, with nearly half of them using Hong Kong as their regional headquarters or regional office. We remain the No. 1 destination for Japanese food exports. With a strong economy and plentiful opportunities arising from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area, I am sure these positive trends will continue, propelled not least by the return to Tokyo in November of our mega “Think Global, Think Hong Kong” campaign.
Our strong people-to-people bond is reflected in the large number of Hong Kong people visiting Japan, at a record breaking 2.23 million in 2017 and a further year-on-year increase of 4 percent in the first two months of 2018.
I am confident that the best is yet to come for Hong Kong and for our relationship with Japan.