Posted on Wednesday 19 June 2013 by Ulster Business

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked Stormont to keep supporting Japanese companies in Northern Ireland.

The local economy in Larne finally has something to smile about after a Japanese-owned company said it will create 416 new jobs in the area.

Terumo BCT, a global medical device manufacturer, also said it would be investing more than £2m in two research and development projects, the first research activities to be undertaken at its Larne facility.

Terumo BCT, which has its headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado, is a member of the Terumo Group family of companies owned by the Japanese-based Terumo Corporation. The business is to receive more than £2m of support from Invest NI's jobs fund to create the new positions and £500,000 of R&D support from the agency.

The announcement of new jobs is a shot in the arm for the Larne area, which has suffered in recent times following severe job cuts made by large employers in the town, including Caterpillar.

Making the announcement, First Minister Peter Robinson said the 400 new jobs at Terumo would deliver over £6m in salaries each year.

Troy Deppey of Terumo BCT Inc said: "The capability of the Larne facility is renowned throughout the company and our global markets so I am delighted that, with Invest NI's support, we can grow this facility and really cement our presence here. Global demand for our products is increasing and the R&D activities in particular will enable us to tap into the skills and research base in order to develop new products and processes that will increase competitiveness and maintain our reputation for quality excellence."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster added: "The Executive is committed to stimulating growth and creating jobs in order to build a positive future for Northern Ireland. Today's announcement will help us to achieve that objective. Terumo BCT is a pioneer in the development of blood processing technologies so the new jobs and R&D commitment will reinforce the strength and capability of our life sciences and healthcare sector globally."

The good news was flagged on Tuesday when Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe spoke at an event in Titanic Belfast for the local leaders of Japanese-owned firms.

Corporations from Japan employ more than 2,000 people in the region and Mr Abe asked Stormont to "continuously offer support" to those companies.

First Minister Peter Robinson said he had accepted an invitation to visit Japan later this year to encourage further trade and investment links.

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