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Asean Affairs    19  September  2011

Japan’s woes spark Asean move

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     19  September 2011

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As projected small and medium-sized Japanese manufacturers are showing increased interest in relocating to Southeast Asia following the March 11 disaster Small and midsize Japanese manufacturers are increasing efforts to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia, with 350 such firms planning to move into industrial complexes in the region within the next three years.

The wave of interest in the region comes at a time when major carmakers and electronics firms are rushing to shift some production outside Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota Motor Corp. has announced plans to build a new plant in Indonesia, while Panasonic Corp. on Friday said it will move the company's procurement and distribution operations to Singapore.

Major trading houses are putting up industrial complexes with the necessary infrastructure -- electricity, roads, water -- in Southeast Asia to meet demand for production sites among small manufacturers in Japan.

Sojitz Corp. plans to expand the Greenland International Industrial Center in the suburbs of Jakarta from the current 400 hectares to 1,300 hectares, aiming to make it the largest industrial park in the country. About 60 firms are expected to set up production at the site and will begin moving in next spring. Autoparts makers Futaba Industrial Co. and Shiroki Corp. are among the Japanese firms that have said they are setting up shop at the complex.

Toyota Tsusho Corp. bought 15 hectares at another industrial complex in the suburbs of Jakarta and a dozen Toyota group parts makers are considering starting operations there.

Itochu Corp. will lease production facilities at an industrial complex in Indonesia by the first half of 2012, while Sumitomo Corp. will do the same in Vietnam starting next May.

Trading companies have been inundated by calls from such small and midsize firms about the availability of industrial sites in Southeast Asia since the yen began rising further after the March 11 disaster.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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