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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   23 April  2012

Myanmar woos Japanese investors

Myanmar President Thein Sein who is visiting Japan called Friday on Japanese firms to invest in his country and help promote economic and industrial growth.

"We hope that Japan's famous and successful major firms . . . will give us a lot of support in the areas" of economic and industrial development, Thein Sein said at a luncheon hosted by the Keidanren business association and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Thein Sein is on a five-day visit to Japan, part of which will be spent at a summit Saturday between Tokyo and five Mekong delta nations — Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. He will also hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

"We are in the middle of political and economic changes. We are also setting up special economic zones," said Thein Sein. "So we welcome Japanese business investments in this opportunity."

Thein Sein said investment would help minimize the economic and industrial gap between the Mekong nations, including Myanmar, and the other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

ASEAN groups the five Mekong countries plus Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

Among the leaders of the Mekong countries, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also sought investment from Japanese firms, saying at the luncheon that it would help in the growth of their countries and the Mekong region.

Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong of Laos did not attend due to a change in his schedule, the organizers said.

"We will promote the export of infrastructure as a package, to contribute to the growth of ASEAN," which continues to draw attention as it aims for economic integration in 2015, Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura said.

Meanwhile, NTT Data Corp. said it plans to set up a subsidiary in Yangon, Myanmar, in September for development of computer systems.

The new subsidiary, NTT Data Myanmar Co., will join NTT Data's offshore network of development outlets currently in China, India and Vietnam and is planned to begin operating by the end of this fiscal year, the system integration company said.

It said NTT Data Myanmar will initially create some 50 jobs and raise that to 500 in five years.

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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.

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