Japan, ASEAN members hold first talks on regional business promotion

JIJI

Government officials and business leaders from Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered Tuesday in Myanmar’s capital for their first talks on business promotion.

Participants hope to create demand in Southeast Asia in promising sectors such as the environment and medicine, organizers said.

Growth in demand would help increase business opportunities for Japanese companies, while Japanese know-how in these fields would help ASEAN members address social problems such as aging populations, the organizers said.

Japanese participants included Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura, representatives of about 30 companies, and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi.

Challenges such as an aging population should be regarded as business opportunities, not as difficult problems, Motegi said at the outset of the conference.

Discussions focused on the environment and energy, health care, and digital content, all of which are key areas in Japan’s economic growth strategy.

Japan also gave presentations on environmentally friendly smart communities and preventive medical and health care services, areas Japanese companies excel in.

Chinese and South Korean businesses have increased their presence markedly in Southeast Asia. Japan hopes to retake some of its lost ground in the region.

Mimura was to report the results of the discussions, including proposals, to a meeting of the economic ministers of Japan and the ASEAN members that was scheduled to take place later Tuesday.