• Kyodo News

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The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry set up a panel involving both the public and private sectors to study ways to gain infrastructure-related business orders abroad.

The Thursday creation of the new organization to promote the export of nuclear power plants and high-speed rail systems came after Japanese companies failed to participate in projects to build atomic plants in Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

Panel members from the private sector include Shoei Utsuda, chairman of Japan Foreign Trade Council Inc. and chairman of trading house Mitsui & Co., as well as Masayuki Oku, chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association and president of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

During their first meeting, some panel members said the government needs to support personnel training in targeted overseas areas for infrastructure operation and maintenance.

Amid growing demand for infrastructure in both emerging and developed countries, the United States, China, South Korea and others are seeking to clinch related business orders through coordinated efforts by the public and private sectors.

Government backup is essential as support measures that are not directly related to infrastructure could be a key factor in winning orders.

Efforts will likely be put to the test when leaders from Japan and Vietnam meet possibly this fall to likely discuss the remaining nuclear power plant projects in Vietnam.

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