Myanmar minister views Japanese tech, hopes it will help nation develop

Kyodo

Myanmar Commerce Minister Win Myint, visiting a small factory in Tokyo, said he is impressed with Japan’s technology and that such firms can assist his country’s drive for economic development.

“I hope that you will take this opportunity to teach us your technology and knowhow,” Win Myint told reporters Monday after visiting EBM Corp., a small manufacturer of surgical training simulators, in Ota Ward, a district known for its many small factories.

Win Myint was accompanied by around 25 business leaders from Myanmar. He is on a visit to Japan to attend economic seminars in Tokyo on Tuesday and in Osaka on Thursday.

EBM, which started as a venture business in 2006 by Park Young Kwang, is housed in an apartment building among around 45 such small factories. Park said the medical equipment made at his firm is used in 100 hospitals in Japan, and that some of the products are also exported to countries like the United States, China and Germany.

“I was impressed that manufacturing activities are going on in such a small space” with little capital, Win Myint said. “The (apartment) model serves as a useful reference to us because land prices in Myanmar are high. I hope to talk with other ministries about the challenges” in adopting a similar system.

Win Myint also said it is useful to know that the parts businesses of small and midsize firms support the manufacturing of big firms.

During the visit, he had a chance to get some hands-on experience with the simulator used to practice heart bypass surgery under the instruction of Park.

Park said an advantage of a small firm such as his is that it can quickly make equipment that reflects surgeons’ needs. He said he hopes to forge an alliance with Myanmar.

Win Myint met with Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Tadashi Okamura following the visit to the factory. He sought the chamber’s assistance in promoting investment in Myanmar by Japanese firms, according to the chamber.

He told Okamura that Myanmar is attempting to improve its trade environment in such fields as tariffs, foreign exchange and government regulations, and that reforms are also under way in the agricultural sector.

Okamura expressed hope that Myanmar’s economic growth will be accelerated and said his organization will support small and midsize firms to invest in Myanmar, the chamber said.

The chamber said it is set to send an economic mission in late September.