Jacinda Ardern cashes in on Rugby World Cup to strengthen trade ties with Japan

It's not often a Prime Minister gets overshadowed, but as rugbymania sweeps Japan Jacindamania is less evident. 

But the Prime Minister is using the timing of the World Cup to strengthen our trade ties with Japan. 

"The CPTPP has been immeasurable for product that we trade across Japan," Ardern said.

It's been less than a year since the signing of that 11-nation trading agreement, boosting two-way trade to be worth almost $9 billion.

Honey exports have gone up by 60 percent, and kiwifruit, beef and wine exports are also up. 

Now innovation is the focus for Ardern. 

And she is leveraging off Japan's aging population - three in 10 are over the age of 65, so tapping in to the health supplement market would make sense, with the likes of New Zealand's seaweed being sold in Japan and launching research into probiotic products. 

Ardern is making herself the third wheel in this blossoming relationship, in order to deepen our relationship with Japan.