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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   12 January 2012

Asian countries flocking to Myanmar for business

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

More Asian countries are lining up to do business in Burma, with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano arriving Thursday with a high-profile group of businessmen.
Among the Japanese companies represented in the delegation are Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsui & Co, Itochu, JX Nippon Oil & Energy and Marubeni.

“Economic interest in Myanmar is growing greatly. We plan to move forward with talks, especially on infrastructure development, with various economic committees,” Hiromasa Yonekura, the chairman of Nippon Keidanren, Japan's biggest business lobby, was quoted as saying.

Smaller Japanese companies, especially in textiles and fisheries, want to do business in Burma, and bigger firms are taking an interest, said Yoshihiro Araki, senior researcher at the Japan External Trade Organization, according to Reuters.

“Other countries are rushing in,” he said. “Japanese businesses are thinking they cannot lose this race.”

The Mainichi Daily newspaper quoted Edano saying: “Given Myanmar’s momentum toward democratization, we intend to hold discussions in both public and private sectors to strengthen the two countries' economic relationships.”

Earlierm Edano told at a press conference Japan could help Burma’s move toward democracy by helping to realize improvement in people's livelihoods and the country's economic growth.

His visit comes just days after Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba visited the country and held talks with top government leaders and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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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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