Over 50 Irish companies have today started a five day Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland trade and investment mission to Japan. 

Led by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, the trade mission comes against the backdrop of Brexit and the importance of diversifying Irish exports.

It also aims to increase investment to Ireland from Japanese companies.

Japan is Ireland's eleventh largest trading partner and is a key gateway to the Asia Pacific region, one of the fastest growing regions for Enterprise Ireland-backed companies. 

Over 600 Enterprise Ireland companies are currently exporting to the region with exports of over €2 billion, an increased of 80% over the last five years. 

22% of EI clients have also identified the Asia Pacific region as a key target market for export growth.

Companies due to announce deals over the next five days include semiconductor company Decawave and biotech firm Aalto Bio Reagents. 

Other Enterprise Ireland companies focused on growing in the Japanese market include biometric identity technology firm Daon, sports tech company Kitman Labs, Taxback International and MyComplianceOffice.

Minister Heather Humphreys said it is an opportune time for Ireland and Japan to broaden and deepen the country's trade and investment links. 

"Market diversification has never been more strategically important for Ireland," she added.

She said that over the coming days her aim is to build awareness of the participating companies, highlighting their innovation and capability in key industries. 

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said the trade mission to Japan is targeting significant growth opportunities for globally ambitious Irish companies who recognise the vast potential of this dynamic and influential market. 

"Expanding the Irish export footprint is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland, and we are working closely with Irish enterprise to realise opportunities to support greater market diversification throughout the Asia Pacific region," Ms Sinnamon said. 

Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, said that despite Ireland's close economic relationship with the UK, the country want to make clear to its current and future potential international investors that its investment proposition remains strong and wholly independent of political actions taken in the UK. 

"This trade and investment mission is an excellent and timely way to do that," the IDA CEO added.