2022 marks 40 years of Malaysia’s Look East Policy of engaging Japan in adopting sustainable and efficient development models, and 65 years of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Japan.

Interview highlights with Ambassador Takahashi Ka­tsuhiko:

“The Look East Policy has contributed to the Malaysian economy and 26,000 Malaysians have studied or trained under the Look East Policy. They have become the foundation of bilateral relations and have contributed to the economic development of Malaysia.

“Of the 27 secretaries-general in Malaysian ministries, 13 of them studied and trained in Japan. This fact alone demonstrates Japan’s contribution to Malaysia’s nation-building. In business there has been a very good flow of people and investments between Japan and Malaysia over the past four decades.

“We have more than 1,500 Japanese companies operating in Malaysia — a large number in comparison with other Southeast Asian countries with similar-size populations and economic status.

“In terms of trade, we are the fourth-largest partner and the third-largest for foreign direct investment and have created approximately 340,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector alone.

“These figures demonstrate our positive presence in Malaysia and we see new areas of cooperation in which we can work together, particularly in Islamic banking and the halal food industry. I am eager to continue discussing these topics with my Malaysian counterparts and to strengthening the legacy of the country’s Look East Policy.” ®

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