Japan’s Investment Appetite for Sri Lanka Escalates

There is a Japanese proverb that says ‘if something has happened twice, it will happen a third time’. Maybe it should be changed to ‘if something has happened twice, it will happen a few more times’, judging by the amount of Japanese investments surging into Sri Lanka.

The Japanese seem to be interested in Sri Lankan business and may surpass the Chinese, industry analysts say. The efforts by Sri Lankans in trying to attract investments from Japan seem to be more focused now than ever before.

The latest attempt is by the Export Development Board (EDB) which is organising a delegation to Japan early next year. This was revealed at the advisory ICT/BPO Committee of EDB Interest Group of Japanese Market recently.

“This Interest Group is working towards attracting Japanese companies already in India,” Daya Hettiarachchi, Chairman OpenArc told the Business Times. “We want to study and follow how other countries are presented in Japan through chambers, etc and also have a bigger gateway to Sri Lanka in Japan,” he said. Software that is developed in Sri Lanka according to Japanese Standards is a new market for local IT and the demand is for more IT graduates with languages capabilities, Mr. Hettiarachchi said.

They also want Sri Lanka companies listed in the JETRO, or the Japan External Trade Organisation (a government-related organisation that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world) website and update the profiles.

There are more than 80 Japanese companies present in Sri Lanka with an investment of $350 million approximately in porcelain manufacturing, ship building, power generation, cement manufacturing, electronic components and jewellery, EDB sources said.

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Investment Promotion, was recently quoted as saying that the newly signed agreement with Japan’s Mizuho Bank would enable Sri Lanka to promote Japanese investments to the country.