Bali, Indonesia - In a move to build confidence in Thailand, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday called on her Japanese counterpart, Yoshihiko Noda, to help with the setting up of a joint working group for flood prevention.
She raised the idea at a meeting with him on the sidelines of the Asean Summit.
“I asked Japan to dispatch technicians and experts to work with us to map out plans for flood prevention in the long run,” Yingluck told reporters. “This is part of our confidence-building measures, and I believe the Japanese government and investors remain confident about Thailand as they have agreed to provide full cooperation.”
In return, Thailand will help Japanese businesses hit by the flooding of industrial parks in Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Bangkok.
As requested by Japan, the government has agreed to waive tariffs for equipment and parts that need to be imported to replace or repair damaged machinery. The Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesman, Jesda Katavetin, said technicians who need to be here to help rehabilitate factories and production bases would also be given a 90-day visa.
Yingluck, meanwhile, briefed Noda on the government’s rehabilitation plans and said she hoped Japan would continue being one of the major investors in Thailand and playing a key role in the development of Asean countries, especially those in the Mekong basin.
The two premiers met with the leaders of Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam yesterday to discuss cooperation on infrastructure development as well as disaster management.
At the summit, Noda offered condolences for victims of recent natural disasters in Asean countries and promised that his country would do its best to help out. He also thanked Asean for helping his country after it was hit with a double disaster in March.
Noda announced that Japan had earmarked ?2 trillion (Bt806 billion) for Asean and said he hoped the scheme would help facilitate unity and develop infrastructure in the region.
Yingluck said the grouping needed to forge cooperation on disaster-risk management, especially since climate change was affecting all countries in the region. She also warned of natural disasters eventually affecting the region’s food security.
She discussed this issue in separate meetings with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung.