Business

Nagasaki fire engine maker, Myanmar firm aim to improve safety via tie-up

by Yadana Htun

Nna/kyodo

A Japanese fire engine maker is teaming up with a local firm to break into the market for safety products in Myanmar, capitalizing on the country’s efforts to improve its firefighting capability with help from Japan.

With support from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Nakamura Shobokagaku Co., based in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, demonstrated household fire extinguishers at the Fire Services Department in Yangon earlier this month with help from local partner Peregrine Trading Co.

“The products we brought are household fire extinguishers and are designed for elderly people and children to be able to protect . . . themselves easily,” Chairman Shinsuke Nakamura said during the demonstration on Jan. 12. Aung Naing, managing director of Peregrine Trading, said it expects to distribute the extinguishers within three months.

“Every year, Myanmar has great loss and damage due to fires, most breaking out at markets during the night,” he said. “We can reduce the loss by preventing fires with automatic extinguishers that we demonstrated.”

He said most Myanmar people lack knowledge about fires and use one extinguisher for all types, even though it is important to use the appropriate device for each circumstance.

Tin Moe, director-general of the Fire Services Department, emphasized that individuals play an important role the initial stage of a fire.

“If households in Myanmar have these products in place and are able to use them when a fire is in its early stage, the danger level of fire will be reduced quite a lot,” he said. “So we suppose this business will help improve the safety of our people.”

He also said the department is collaborating with Japan on firefighting to a greater extent than with any other country and noted that Myanmar has been sending its officers to Japan every year for a decade to gain firefighting expertise. The Japanese government and NGOs have helped strengthen the department by facilitating the introduction of fire trucks and other fire prevention equipment.

Statistics from the department say 1,848 fires were reported in Myanmar in 2016 and caused about 3 billion kyat ($2.2 million) in related property losses.

Nakamura Shobokagaku is one of eight fire engine makers in Japan, delivering about 170 units every year.

Peregrine Trading is a retailer and wholesaler of automobile parts, kitchenware, cosmetics, home and garden decorations, stationery and household goods from Japan and Thailand.