Business Finland is offering Finnish companies an exceptional setting to promote exports in the Japanese market in the Metsä (‘forest’) Pavilion until the end of 2021. The pavilion was originally built for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The wooden pavilion opened its doors on Tuesday, 6 October. Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä and Business Finland’s Director General Nina Kopola participated in the opening as holograms. The pavilion has received a tremendous amount of interest in the Japanese media. In the next 1.5 years, the pavilion will present Finland to the Japanese people.
Last spring, the Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed until 2021 because of COVID 19. However, the construction of the Finnish pavilion continued, and the building was completed on schedule. The opening was organised on 6 October as a hybrid event. Watch a recording of the event here.
The impressive wooden pavilion was built from Kerto® LVL elements and designed in Finland in collaboration with the project's main partner Metsä Group. Architecture firm Helin & Co. was selected as the main architect.
The idea for the Metsä Pavilion was created in Japan as a cooperation between Business Finland and the Finnish embassy. The purpose was to strengthen the Finnish image in Japan during the Olympic Games and to utilise the pavilion for the benefit of Finnish exports in Japan.
"Now, more than ever, is the time to prove that Finland is an agile and responsible actor even in the middle of a crisis. This is why we decided to open the Metsä Pavilion now in October despite the COVID 19 pandemic. The pavilion can be used by Finnish companies that already operate in Japan and can benefit from it," says Nita Pilkama, Metsä Pavilion Project Director, Business Finland.
At first, the pavilion was supposed to be open for six months — from the Olympic Games until the end of 2020. With COVID 19, we decided to extend its utilisation until the end of 2021. For now, Finns cannot travel to Japan, but we hope that the situation will change in the coming months.
"The pavilion features a variety of creative and innovative solutions. For example, Nokia offers a 5G connection in the pavilion, which enabled Ministers Mika Lintilä and Ville Skinnari as well as Business Finland's Director General Nina Kopola to participate in the opening as holograms. This is truly ground-breaking technology," Pilkama says.
During the autumn, several events will be produced as so-called hybrid events, which means they will happen in two countries at the same time. If the Olympic Games are organised in the summer of 2021, the pavilion will also be used by the Finnish Olympic and Paralympic teams. During the Olympic Games, the building will also act as the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE's broadcasting studio.
Finland's reputation and image in Japan are excellent, which offers a good foundation for creating additional awareness with the help of the Metsä Pavilion. In true Japanese fashion, the media opening of the Metsä Pavilion was organised on 29 September, well in advance of the actual opening. The media attention has been extensive. More than 70 representatives of the media, including five TV channels, participated in the event either in person or by following the livestream. Japanese national broadcaster NHK and the Asahi news media were some of the parties that reported on the event.
In Japan, the Finnish pavilion creates all kinds of interest: the Japanese are fascinated by the Finnish culture, and Finland is an attractive trade partner. The building itself represents up-and-coming industrial wooden construction. The indoors feature a variety of Finnish design, which is highly valued in Japan. The pavilion's location in the esteemed embassy area highlights its significance.
"In the coming months, the pavilion will be used to do business, network with new contacts, strengthen Finland's image and spread the gospel of Finnish culture. We have events for companies' own stakeholders, but also for regular Japanese people who can register to participate in the public events. The public events are particularly interesting, and the public can visit them to get to know Finnish products, the Finnish lifestyle and Finland as a travel destination," says Paavo Virkkunen, Director of Finland Promotion Services at Business Finland.
The Metsä Pavilion was full of joyous conversation after the official program. Some of the program was organized on the terrace. Image: Petri Asikainen.
The Metsä Pavilion is a joint effort by several Finnish actors: Business Finland, the Foreign Ministry, Team Finland operators in Japan as well as corporate partners. Currently, approximately fifty Finnish companies are involved in the Pavilion's operations, and the purpose is to at least double the number during the Pavilion's existence. As many operators as possible should utilise the pavilion of the entire Finland, the ”Home of Finland”.
Paavo Virkkunen, Business Finland, Finland Promotion Services
paavo.virkkunen (at) businessfinland.fi, tel. +358 40 766 6355
Nita Pilkama, Business Finland, Project Director, Metsä Pavilion, Tokyo
nita.pilkama (at) businessfinland.fi, tel. +358 40 841 1166
Lotta Hanski, Business Finland, Marketing and Communications Manager
lotta.hanski (at) businessfinland.fi, tel. +358 44 976 9852
Metsä Pavilion website (Finnish, English and Japanese)
Metsä Pavilion – Home of Finland Facebook
Business Finland is a Finnish public-sector operator which offers innovation funding and internationalisation services and promotes tourism and investments in Finland. The organisation employs 750 specialists in 44 global locations and 16 offices in Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network. www.businessfinland.fi
Business Finland on suomalainen julkinen toimija, joka tarjoaa innovaatiorahoitusta ja kansainvälistymispalveluita sekä edistää matkailua ja investointeja Suomeen. Organisaatiossa työskentelee 750 asiantuntijaa 44 toimipisteessä maailmalla ja 16 toimipaikassa Suomessa. Business Finland on osa Team Finland -verkostoa. www.businessfinland.fi