BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
JAPAN is reaffirming its stance for its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” in the ASEAN region, with a number of projects also being outlined in the pipelines to pursue stronger trade relations with Brunei.
Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Motohiko Kato reaffirmed this in a press conference yesterday noting that Brunei has high potential for attracting Japanese investors, given its prestige being a safe and clean haven for trade in the region.
Amongst the projects include establishing business operations in Brunei’s fisheries and energy sectors, with renowned Japanese investors already named as partners to operate specific businesses in the sultanate.
Just last year, Yamako Pacific (B) Sdn Bhd was granted the rights to catch tuna fishes in the Bruneian waters, collaborating with local company Golden Corporation.
The Japanese Ambassador however said that these trade relations will not stop there, as Japan also has plans to incorporate local manpower and training in the process.
This is related to promoting Japanese cuisine in Brunei, which has gained popular grounds among the people. Through the trainings with the company, locals could be trained to the proper ways on preparing Japanese cuisines, in particular, dishes related to fishes.
Japan has also brought in Ahead, a conglomerate of Japanese companies to work on a pilot project producing liquefied hydrogen using Bruneian gases as its raw materials.
“The end products, which will be exported to Japan and other countries, are to be used as an alternative to produce energy, and to fuel hybrid-powered transports, which may just be the transportation system of the future,” said the ambassador
The Japanese embassy, said the ambassador, is also preparing an agreement to start a new “Cost-Share Technical Cooperation” in Brunei, which is currently under the purview of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Other than that, Japan already has its Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) embarking on a study to make Temburong a “Smart City”; a city that is self sufficient in terms of energy and natural resources.
All of these are also to be achieved with assistance from the ASEAN-Japan Centre, whose Secretary General Masataka Fujita was also in Brunei to give talks to government officials as well as the economic and academic communities.