As Myanmar opens its economy towards foreign investors, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to strengthen economic and bilateral relations between Japan and the newly democratized Southeast Asian nation. Prime Minister Abe will be on an official three-day visit to Myanmar from next Friday in a bid to improve the investment environment in the transitioning country. Abe will be accompanied by more than 30 representatives of Japanese companies looking to open up investments in the country.
During the trip, Abe is expected to hold talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein on the possibilities for expansion of Japanese investments there. Abe is also looking to present to the Myanmar head-of-state new measures to push economic development forward. Recently in March, Abe’s administration announced that it will provide yen-denominated loans to Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – for the first time in almost 3 decades. With possible Japanese investors and companies in tow, Abe is keen for Japanese industries to benefit from the growth of Asian economies like Myanmar’s. He will look to make a pitch for Japan’s infrastructure and technology exports, a vital part of Abe’s growth strategy for the country.
Along with Abe’s visit, the Japanese government and Japan Post Co. have also tied up a deal that will see them help modernize Myanmar’s postal system and enhance the quality of its services. Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo and Myanmar Communications and Information Technology Minister Myat Hein are looking to announce this new cooperation this week. The deal will see Japan introduce automatic postal code-reading and sorting machines to Myanmar’s aging postal service, helping the country’s delivery efficiency and improving mail distribution. Japan has been offering this support similarly to Vietnam and Russia.
With a radical transition to a democratic government system in March 2011, Myanmar has begun to lure a lot of foreign investors. The country is widely seen as one of Southeast Asia’s last untapped frontier, with relatively cheap and abundant labor, and plentiful natural resources to harvest. Some have also seen the prime minister’s trip as an effort to counter China’s influence on Myanmar. It can be remembered that China backed Myanmar’s dictators while it was under military rule.
[via Global Post]