Various benefits are expected of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Japan, including the introduction of the new technologies and innovative management practices of foreign companies, expanded employment opportunities, a ripple effect in terms of stimulating regional economies, and greater benefit to the consumer.
Recent developments have included China joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and consultations moving forward on a Japan-ROK free trade agreement, while, backed by its massive market, China is in the process of becoming the worldfs factory. Faced with such competition, it will not be easy for Kyushu to attract foreign companies. For that very reason, Kyushu needs to take a timely and effective approach to inward FDI promotion.
June, or the eJune bridef, marks the middle of summer for Europe, bringing the best weather of the year, and also festivals celebrating Juno, goddess of marriage in ancient Rome. For companies seeking to export or import products, form technical tie-ups, or establish joint ventures, the critical issue is to secure a business partner. To provide a setting for such fortuitous meetings, METI worked with the Institute for International Studies and Training to hold the Kyushu Industrial Tour over the first three days of the eJune bridef of June. Targeting personnel from embassies, consulates and chambers of commerce and industry in Japan, who play an important role as a bridge between Japan and the world, the tour aimed to raise the profile of Kyushu and supply information to attract foreign companies to the area.
The tour was planned with the idea of showing participants both good areas and areas in need of improvement so that they could experience firsthand Kyushufs investment environment in comparison to the rest of Japan, as well as Kyushufs potential as a gateway to swiftly growing China and the rest of East Asia and the Pacific.
Although we scheduled the tour to get in ahead of the rainy season, it arrived earlier than usual this year on 29 May, leaving us looking nervously at the weather. We met the 13 tour participants at Fukuoka Airport. From Asia, Europe and the US, the staff of embassy, consulates-general and representatives, as well as chamber of commerce and industry members, represented a total of 11 countries. The tour itself offered a rich program, including visits to semiconductor, steel, precision machinery and game software manufacturers operating as global mother factories, as well as informal meetings with local companies.
In a very short period of time, participants took part in visits and received briefings on local economies, industries and cultures in Fukuoka City, Kumamoto Prefecture and Oita Prefecture, and some of the companies who participated in the informal business community meetings ended up in concrete business discussions. In this way, the tour opened the way for the building of new personal networks between Kyushu and other countries, and also provided hints as to trade promotion and investment attraction measures that could be developed.
Institute for International Studies and Training (IIST)
2nd Floor, Toranomon Jitsugyo Kaikan
1-1-20 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan