News article

#SpotTheLEAF: Electric Vehicle Roadshow to drive UK-Japan innovation

UK-branded Nissan Leaf departs British Embassy Tokyo for Japan tour; enter #SpotTheLeaf contest to win prizes.

From Tuesday 8 September to Friday 18 September, the British Embassy Tokyo and the British Consulate Osaka are holding an eleven-day tour titled “Japan-UK Motor Innovation Road Trip: EV Roadshow.”

The journey, which begins in Tokyo and runs all the way down to Kobe before circling back to Tokyo, is part of a larger initiative launched in February 2015 by HRH the Duke of Cambridge. As part of the ‘Innovation is GREAT’ campaign, the road trip with a Nissan LEAF wrapped in a Union Flag seeks to promote examples of partnership between Japan and the UK to a wide Japanese audience in order to spark future innovation.

Throughout the campaign, individuals with strong ties to both the United Kingdom and Japan will serve as drivers in a cross-country relay. Struan Moore, a British racing driver competing in Japan Formula 3 this year; Diane Kichijitsu, a Liverpudlian comedian based in Osaka; and Minoru Kadota, Chief Vehicle Engineer for Nissan are amongst those behind the wheel.

A departure ceremony was held at the British Embassy in Tokyo with speeches from Mr. Hitoshi Kawaguchi, Senior Vice President of Nissan Motor Company, Welsh First Minister Mr. Carwyn Jones, and Struan Moore.

Her Majesty’s Ambassador Tim Hitchens said:

The UK automotive sector has driven an unprecedented demand for components. In the two years to 2014, sales from UK suppliers to UK OEMs grew by £1 billion, with 19% growth in 2014 alone. This presents a unique opportunity for businesses to invest into the UK supply chain, and how the UK is the automotive export gateway to Europe and the world. In 2014 over 78% of vehicles produced in the UK left to over 100 countries.

Mr. Kawaguchi referred to the UK as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, with a rich manufacturing heritage, and with a globalised economy, the UK is one of the most innovative countries in the world.

It is for this reason that Nissan supports Innovation is GREAT.

Nissan set up its operation in 1984 in Sunderland and has since deepened its relationship with the UK.


Over the last few weeks a competition to ‘Name the Leaf’ was run in Japan. “Sir Winston” won out over more than 100 entries. The name was chosen because it is a fun name that captures British tradition and strong leadership. Innovation is GREAT is about collaboration and partnership. And it is this collaboration between the old and the new, traditional and modern that makes Sir Winston a fitting name for an EV touring Japan.


The car travels first to Kanagawa and westwards through Kyoto and Osaka on its way to Kobe making a number of stops at UK companies, Japanese suppliers and historical sites along the way. It will stop off at the Nissan Technical Center via the Japanese Alps in Gifu and Nagano prefectures, and back to the British Embassy.

‘#SpotTheLEAF’ contest

Members of the public are encouraged to look out for the LEAF on its journey and can enter to win prizes by sharing their photos of Sir Winston on social media using the hashtag #SpotTheLEAF.

To find out more, follow the road trip through social media, FACEBOOK, TWITTER , INSTAGRAM.