Koizumi, Prodi agree on investment initiatives

Kyodo

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and European Commission President Romano Prodi agreed Friday on a set of initiatives to boost direct investment in a bid to bolster their struggling economies.

The leaders agreed to act this year on the initiatives laid out by Koizumi, who hopes to double the amount of foreign direct investment in Japan over the next five years.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the EU welcomed Koizumi’s invitation for foreign investment and said it “will do its utmost to inform its companies about the attractiveness of the Japanese market and its advantages as an investment location.”

Under the latest accord, both sides will raise awareness of their respective markets by cooperating in publicity events and promotional activities, and initiating contracts between Japanese and EU investment promotion bodies.

They will also organize seminars and conferences to inform the private sector of additional investment opportunities, according to the statement.

Both sides will take advantage of existing bilateral bodies and functions, such as the EU-Japan Center for Industrial Cooperation and the high-level Regulatory Reform Dialogue, the statement says.

The Japanese government will strengthen the functions of the Japan External Trade Organization and the promote various deregulation initiatives, it says.

“In implementing these measures, Japan and the EU encourage the close involvement of the private sector, in particular the EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table,” it says.

Koizumi is in Greece, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, on the last leg of a five-nation European tour.