PM reassures Japanese on flood control measures

national March 08, 2012 00:00

By Photo : EPA

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday showcased Thailand as an unbeatable investment destination in a bid to rally Japanese business confidence in the wake of last year’s flooding disaster.

On the second day of her Tokyo visit, Yingluck assured 1,200 Japanese businessmen at a seminar that Thai-Japan partnership would endure floods and any natural woes and move on to become an engine for growth and prosperity in Asia.

“I am pleased to inform you that we are in the process of implementing an effective water management system,” she said, to allay concerns of a repeat of the floods.

She outlined four key flood-control measures – ensuring effective water retention via dams; identifying more water-retention areas; construction of flood barriers at industrial zones; and unifying command centres to regulate water flow.

The government was preparing to spend Bt350 billion on flood-control projects, she said. Soft loans were being made available to Japanese companies recovering from the last flooding and coping with the coming rainy season.

Turning to investment incentives, she said corporate income tax would be slashed from 30 per cent to 23 per cent this year. A further reduction to 20 per cent is expected next year.

The PM said Thailand was becoming a hub for Japanese products in the Asean community. The government was fully committed to the development of logistics and a transport network to enhance regional connectivity. Thai involvement in Burma’s Dawei deep-sea port would link the region with South Asia and beyond.

The prime minister held separate talks with a number of key figures, including Japan’s Minister of Eco-nomy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano and Japan Financial Corpora-tion governor Shosaku Yasui.

Edano pledged support and continued investment as the two countries faced similar disasters caused by floods. He thanked Thais for their continuing trust in Japanese food products despite the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In-between meetings, the prime minister attended a luncheon hosted by the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). In the afternoon, she presided over the consultation meeting between Thai and Japanese business representatives.

At the Imperial Hotel, Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) chairman Hiroyuki Ishige met with Yingluck to discuss Thai government policies on water and flood management as well as cooperation in bilateral industrial development.

He said later that Jetro had asked the Thai government to show a clear stance on flood-prevention measures, management of data processing and insurance policies.

Ishige said Jetro had organised extensive events and seminars in Thailand because industrial investments in Thailand were important to Japan.

He said Yingluck’s visit was helpful in boosting Japanese investor confidence in their prolonged ventures in Thailand, as they were now much clearer about Thai flood-prevention plans. More than half of Japanese-owned businesses had resumed post-flood operations in Thailand.

As the yen strengthens, Japanese businesses are seeking opportunities for overseas investment and Thailand is one of the primary locations for them, he added.

A group from the Gakushuin Women’s College paid a courtesy call on Yingluck to present 1,000 origami cranes in appreciation of Thai assistance in last year’s calamities caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.



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