YANGON - Japanese investment in Myanmar reached an all-time high of about $1.48 billion in fiscal 2017 following the nation’s transition from military to civilian rule in 2011, boosted by large-scale commercial complex and steel manufacturing projects.
According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Planning and Finance, Japanese investment in fiscal 2017 through March this year more than quintupled from a year earlier, topping the previous record of $1.02 billion in fiscal 2014.
Japan became the fourth-biggest foreign investor in fiscal 2017 after Singapore, China and the Netherlands, according to the Japan Desk in the ministry’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.
The investments consisted of those from Japan or via third countries such as Singapore, endorsed or approved by the ministry or Myanmar’s Special Economic Zone authorities.
Investments through third countries accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total.
The sharp increase was attributable to a $333 million real estate project in Yangon, the nation’s commercial capital, by construction firm Fujita Corp. and its Japanese and Myanmar partners, and a $400 public-private partnership project led by major general contractor Kajima Corp.
The Myanmar data also shows that JFE Steel Corp. and its partners such as local steel mills Meranti Myanmar Co. started factory construction in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone to manufacture hot-dip galvanized and colored flat steel products.
Japanese investment in Myanmar totaled $252 million in fiscal 2012, $55 million in fiscal 2013, $1.02 billion in fiscal 2014, $590 million in fiscal 2015 and $280 million in fiscal 2016.
In fiscal 2017, concerns over the current administration’s policy implementation and the Rohingya refugee crisis apparently eased among Japanese investors, said Takahide Tahara, an adviser from the Japanese government-backed Japan External Trade Organization.
Despite a tough investment climate exemplified by protracted infrastructure development, Tahara said, Japanese investment in Myanmar is becoming stable as country implements deregulatory measures and speeds up procedural steps.