Japanese Boost for Lankan Economy!

Japan is willing to invest heavily towards the development of Sri Lanka, according to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who spoke this Sunday at the Sri Lanka-Japan Business Forum, organised by the Sri Lanka-Japan Business Co-operation Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Japanese business media leader Nikkei Inc.

“I have heard your saying ‘Japana Hapana’; so, I have brought with me many wise Japanese CEOs who have the skills, technology and more importantly the passion to see Sri Lanka forward. So, I hope you take this opportunity,” the Premier said.

Japanese industry leaders presented their technologies for the consideration of their Sri Lankan counterparts, which could be utilized towards developing the nation, especially in improving power generation, human capital, transport, e-governance and entertainment.

Thermal power giant Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd President Koji Tanaka said his company is willing to transfer knowledge towards establishing clean coal power supplies for further economic development in the country.

“For the economic development of Sri Lanka, there must be a stable supply of electricity. Clean coal power generation is stable, eco-friendly, automated, efficient and easily maintained,” he said.

Onomichi Dockyard Co. Ltd, which owns 51 percent of Colombo Dockyard PLC and has trained and employed over 300 locals, is keen to further develop the human capital in Sri Lanka.

“We are imparting not just skills but our corporate culture too and with the construction of support ships recently in addition to earlier repairing services, we have become a major source of upgrading skills in Sri Lanka,” Onomichi Dockyard Co. Ltd President Takashi Nakabe expressed.

According to Nakabe, Colombo Dockyard contributes 2 percent towards local foreign exchange earnings and through its subsidiary Dockyard General Engineering Services (Pvt.) Ltd, by taking advantage of the Sri Lanka-India FTA, Onomichi is eying infrastructure development in India.

Nakabe said that it will be a good opportunity for Onomichi to help strengthen ties between the neighbours, as Colombo Dockyard is the pride of local heavy industries and the premier dockyard in South Asia.

Meanwhile, SG Holdings Co. Ltd Chairman and President Eiichi Kuriwada said his company is aiming to become a powerhouse of business logistics in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, following their partnership with Expolanka Holdings PLC this June.

SG Holdings, the second largest business courier and logistics operator in Japan, has already cemented its place in East and South East Asia and covers all of Asia Pacific with operations in 24 countries under 100 affiliated companies and is now aggressively expanding across the globe under its subsidiary, SG Holdings Global Pte Ltd, based in Singapore.

Following Sri Lanka’s commitment to adopt digital television and Prime Minister Abe’s Rs.17 billion loan towards the realization of the goal, the entity which developed Japanese digital television and implemented it in the Philippines said it will create a social phenomenon in Sri Lanka.

Tomo-Digi Corporation President Hidemichi Shirane said digital television will offer in addition to trilingual HDTV, live HD broadcasts of sporting events for customers on their mobile devices, while providing the government a platform for real-time e-governance and disaster management.

Hitachi Ltd Chairman and CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi meanwhile explained his enthusiasm of setting up the simple, suitable and safe Hitachi Monorail System in Colombo to minimize traffic congestion and provide punctual transport that minimizes noise and air pollution.

“We are hopeful it will be implemented following the 2012 Colombo Transport Masterplan Study for the 30km Malabe-Colombo monorail system,” he said.

Premier Abe said that funding Sri Lanka is not considered an investment but repayment for Sri Lanka’s staunch support of Japan in the form of then Finance Minister J.R. Jayawardene’s impassioned speech at the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951, which proved pivotal in Japan’s current existence following World War II.
“Going forward, Sri Lanka and Japan can significantly contribute towards stopping climate change and increase open seas policies between the maritime states to connect the Pacific and Asia,” he said.

Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed in vitalizing inter-governmental economic policies as well as in the agriculture and science and technology areas.