Links between Scotland and Japan’s second largest city will be boosted with the signing of a new co-operation agreement.
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the deal with the city of Yokohama on a five-day trade and culture mission to the country.
The agreement aims to encourage closer ties in education, sport, culture and the marine industry.
The city will host two of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup games against Ireland and Japan in 2019.
Ms Hyslop said: “This unique deal will encourage the development of links between Scotland and Yokohama in the areas of education, sports, culture and marine industries.
“It presents an excellent opportunity to celebrate our connections and exchange knowledge and expertise, building on the constructive meeting I held with mayor Hayashi during my visit last year.
“However, I believe there is scope for even closer collaboration – to seize shared opportunities and meet common challenges as both our countries look to address the growing needs of the global market.
“Having recently launched Scotland is Now, our global drive to put Scotland at the top of everyone’s list of places to live, work, visit, invest and study, there may be many opportunities as a result of this agreement with Yokohama City.”
Ms Hyslop has also used the trip to mark the role Scotland played in the foundation of drinks giant Nikka Whisky – a leading Japanese brand and owners of the Ben Nevis Distillery in Fort William..
Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, famously travelled to Scotland in 1918 to learn the process of distilling malt whisky, before returning home and establishing the country’s first whisky distillery.
The SNP minister also praised the success of an education programme on subsea and marine development, which was launched in 2016 between Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and the Japanese philanthropic organisation The Nippon Foundation.
Now in its third year, 10 students will attend the subsea offshore summer school this summer.
She said: “These kinds of connections are incredibly important. The students coming to Scotland from Japan have an important role to play as part of the global exchange of ideas and expertise that will help us build a brighter future.”