Japan line up for a boost

Japan line up for a boost

Prime Minister Kishida’s visit expected to boost deals

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives in Bangkok on Sunday. He is due to have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday at Government House. (Photo: Twitter account @MFAThai)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s official visit, the first of its kind in nine years, will not only help cement long-term Thai-Japanese relations, but also create new trade and investment opportunities for both sides. say some observers.

A number of new memorandums of understanding and agreements are expected to be signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Japanese counterpart during their meeting on Monday.

It is hoped that Kishida’s visit will boost economic and investment cooperation, said Chaiwat Khamchoo, director of the college of policy and governance at the King Prajadhipok Institute.

In addition to reaffirming the strong bond on the 135th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Japanese leader is also expected to take a stand on one of the region’s key issues, the political unrest in Myanmar, Mr. Chawat.

However, with China having made clear its sympathy with Russia, the international community is eager to hear the Japanese leader’s thoughts and position on the war in Ukraine, he said.

In terms of regional strategies, Japan might now want more support from Thailand, which currently hosts Apec meetings, also for its Indo-Pacific policy, he said.

“Now that Asean has become a region where superpowers are vying for involvement, Vietnam and Indonesia are becoming Thailand’s main rivals,” he said.

Vietnam, for example, has received more aid from Japan, while Cambodia is trying to intensify its relations with Japan and Vietnam, he said.

“In a nutshell, this opportunity will greatly benefit Thailand. However, much of that will depend on our ability to attract greater Japanese investment than in the past,” he said.

Before heading to Thailand, the Japanese leader has already made stops in Vietnam and Indonesia, said Professor Assoc Kitti Prasirtsuk, head of the international relations department at Thammasat University’s Faculty of Political Science.

In the ASEAN market, Japan still maintains the highest investment volume in Thailand, especially in the automotive and household appliances sectors, although it has instead moved some factories to Vietnam, said he declared.

He believes Thailand now expects Japan to invest more in the electronic vehicle (EV) sector and its flagship Easter Economic Corridor (EEC) program, he said.

To achieve this goal, he recommended that the government provide more tax privileges to induce such foreign companies to move their production bases to Thailand, he said.

“And with Thailand now fully reopened since yesterday, the government should take this opportunity to woo Japanese tourists,” he said.

Kishida and Gen. Prayut are expected to discuss several areas of bilateral economic cooperation, including more investment opportunities in the electric vehicle manufacturing industry, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow had previously tried to woo investors during a visit to Japan and attempted to sell the opportunities Thailand has to offer, the spokesman said.

Other topics of conversation between the two heads of state include cooperation on regional security issues as well as a number of sub-regional and international issues, Thanakorn said.

Prof Assoc Kitti said he expected Japan to bring up cooperation on maritime issues.

Japan has already sold and donated a number of coast guard vessels to the Philippines and donated some second-hand coast guard vessels to Vietnam, he said, adding that these two countries are both involved in disputes in the South China Sea.

As for the cybersecurity cooperation Japan has already struck with ASEAN, he thinks Thailand is likely to be reserved about discussing the details too openly due to its reluctance to take positions that contradict China’s policy on the matter. .

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