Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness on Japanese trade mission
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are in Japan for a four-day drive to attract new investment and jobs into Northern Ireland.
The First and Deputy First Ministers are due to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was among those who attended the G8 summit in Fermanagh in June.
The Stormont leaders will also attend a reception tomorrow night along with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and speak at an Invest NI event hosted by Japan's vice-minister of foreign affairs, Nobuo Kishi.
A number of meetings with existing and potential investors as well as the British and Irish ambassadors have also been arranged.
Ahead of their departure yesterday, Mr Robinson welcomed the invitation from Prime Minister Abe.
"This important visit will enable us to follow up on some initial discussions with potential new investors that began at the investment conference in October," he said.
"After London, Belfast has attracted the most foreign direct investment compared with any other city in the UK, particularly in technology and financial services.
"We are determined to increase trade between the two countries and raise the profile of Northern Ireland in Japan."
Mr McGuinness said: "We are visiting Japan at a time when our businesses are enjoying unprecedented success in international markets and competing globally in innovation and creativity across a range of sectors.
"Our local companies in the life sciences and technology are already actively selling their products in Japan.
"We have a number of Japanese companies already established in the North of Ireland."
He added: "This visit will give us the opportunity to meet with these companies and discuss ways in which we might be able to support them to grow their operations here."
Japanese-owned business in Northern Ireland currently employ more than 2,400 people.