Jetro, Marubeni meet PM, officials ahead of Abe visit this week
The Japanese and Thai public and private sectors have been prepping up for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's imminent visit to Thailand, which is expected to strengthen bilateral ties at a time when Japan is boosting investment overseas and the Kingdom needs new foreign investment.
Japan External Trade Organisation president Hidehiro Yokoo was in Bangkok yesterday, ahead of Abe's arrival on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Teruo Asada, president and chief executive officer of Marubeni Corp - one of Japan's largest conglomerates - met with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who assured him of the government's commitment to promoting foreign investment.
In his second meeting with Yingluck, following the one held last year in Tokyo, Asada reiterated Marubeni's interest in taking part in Thailand's infrastructure investment, particularly in regard to green energy and rail development.
She presented him with Marubeni's "Thailand's Best Friends 2012" award at yesterday's meeting.
Abe's visit will play a big part in strengthening bilateral ties, said Yingluck.
The PM yesterday also instructed Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suvanadat and senior officials from related government units to ensure full preparedness for Abe's visit, which is part of his tour of three Asean countries. They have been assigned to prepare information related to highlighted investment projects.
Last week, the Foreign Ministry's East Asian Affairs Department said Abe would discuss with Yingluck bilateral cooperation on a high-speed train project and flood-prevention schemes. Chinese leaders have also expressed interest in investing in Thailand in such areas.
This is among a wide range of bilateral and multilateral regional cooperation issues that the Japanese premier wishes to discuss with her, the department said.
After meeting with Boonsong yesterday, Jetro president Yokoo said Japanese investors continued to plan further investment in Thailand, and his organisation would play its part in supporting such investment both here and in other countries.
"Despite the serious floods in 2011, Japanese investors still have confidence about investing here. The country's promise to promote investment and its status at the centre of Asean will continue to draw investment from Japan," he said.
Yokoo said Jetro would be proposing that Japan and Thailand collaborate in three areas. First, in the joint development of investment projects, particularly in third countries. Industries with potential for such cooperation include lifestyle products, foods and spas, he added.
Second, the organisation will invite Thai companies to invest more in Japan. Jetro will provide information support and seminars to educate Thai investors, he said. Third, Jetro will continue to promote collaboration in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or Asean + 6, as the pact will help ensure strong growth in Asia.