Japan to launch task force to boost Mekong area-bound medical exports

Kyodo

The government is planning to set up a task force later this week to promote exports of medical technologies and services to five Mekong basin countries in Southeast Asia, government sources said Monday.

The entity involving both the public and private sectors will be tasked with accelerating exports of advanced medical facilities and insurance systems to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic growth strategy, they said.

Tokyo aims to sign a memorandum of understanding on expanding cooperation in the medical sector with the five Mekong countries when it hosts a special summit with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Tokyo on Dec. 13-15, marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the sources said.

The task force will consist of officials from the Foreign and Economy, Trade and Industry ministries, as well as hospital managers and representatives from insurance companies and medical equipment manufacturers, according to the sources.

Medical standards are not high in some of the five Mekong nations and a Foreign Ministry source pointed out that there is room for Japanese firms to meet medical needs there.

The policy of expanding medical service exports to those Southeast Asian countries is also aimed at countering China’s influence in the nations, the sources said.