New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Japanese Prime Minister is Shinzō Abe. Algae research and development is a significant element of their technology partnership. Photo: 1News Now

Maiki Sherman, traveling with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, reports for 1News Now that new innovation partnerships have been signed between New Zealand and Japanese entities including developing biofuels from microalgae.

Hirojiren and Cawthron Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize Mazda’s commitment to building a research and development partnership focused on biofuels from microalgae.

Hirojiren is a Hiroshima-based collaboration between the automotive industry, academia and government.

Meanwhile, Ngāi Tahu and Kataoka Corporation/Sankou Foods have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to turn New Zealand’s invasive Undaria seaweed into a high-value food product for Japan.

This partnership will contribute to conservation efforts and generate jobs in the East Otago region.

Prime Minister Ardern welcomed the signing of the partnerships after speaking at a business luncheon in Tokyo aimed at increasing investment in New Zealand. The event was hosted by the Japan New Zealand Business Council and the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan. “Japan and New Zealand have a long history of research driven collaboration where innovators leverage each other’s complementary capabilities,” Ms Ardern said.

New Zealand and Japan are economically linked, she said, with two-way trade between the countries valued at $8.8 billion for the year to June. “Today’s announcements allow us to further share our respective innovative expertise to the benefit of both countries. These sorts of partnerships will help to grow jobs and our economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” Ms Ardern said. “The solutions and technologies New Zealand and Japanese innovators are working on have the potential to have significant global impact and bring our science and business communities closer together.”

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