TOKYO, May 24 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to resonate Malaysia’s solidarity with Japan during his official visit here as the land of the rising sun begins the costly and lengthy reconstruction of the northeastern part of the country devastated by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The Prime Minister’s presence would be a morale booster for the people still grappling with the incident which afffected hundreds of thousands of people and killing 15,000 people with 11,000 still missing, Malaysian Ambassador to Japan, Datuk Shaharuddin Md. Som, told Malaysian journalists Tuesday.
Najib, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, will arrive here Wednesday to begin his two-day visit to Japan.
The Prime Minister would take the oppportunity during his keynote address at the 17th Nikkei International Conference on Thursday here to provide words of comfort and encouragement to the people of Japan.
The Japanese have displayed immense fortitude and discipline as they slowly recover from what was surely an unprecedented disaster for a country renowned for its precision, efficiency and technological innovativeness.
Although the annual Nikkei Conference on the future of Asia usually dwelves into hard core economic issues, Shaharuddin said that this time, economists, political leaders and captains of industry would focus discussions on specific steps regional economies need to take to deal with such incidents as earthquakes, tsunamis and consequent nuclear fallouts.
“The damaged areas will take years to reconstruct and rebuild,” he said, noting that Japan had just passed a supplementary budget of US$489 billion for reconstruction with more such budgets to be passed later.
He said that the theme for this year’s Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia “Stronger Ties and Greater Growth: Keys to Overcoming Asia’s Challenge” was relevant in view of the difficulties faced by Japan and the challenges the region faced as a consequence given Japan’s prominent economic role regionally and globally.
He said Najib would also take the opportunity to hold discussions with Japanese captains of industry to boost bilateral trade and investment linkages and the opportunities offered under its Economic Transformation Plan (ETP).
He is expected to hold a roundtable meeting with the Japanese Malaysia Economic Association (Jameca) which will represented by top officials from companies such as Hitachi, Marubeni Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation and Toshiba.
Last year, Japan was Malaysia’s second largest source of manufacturing investments after the United States with 61 manufacturing projects worth US$1.308 billion or RM4.03 billion approved, with investments mainly in non-mineral metals, basic metals, electrical and electronics and food products.
As for bilateral trade, it rose by a significant 35 per cent to US$41.24 billion in 2010 versus US$33.55 billion a year earlier, a reflection of Japan being the third most important trading partner with Malaysia.
Exports from Malaysia to Japan rose to US$20.58 billion in 2010 from US$15.14 billion in 2009, while the Japanese continued to be major tourist market for Malaysia with 415,881 persons visiting Malaysia, up 5.0 per cent from 395,746 in 2009.
However, he said that bilateral trade was affected in areas such as auto imports in the second quarter this year due to the recent disasters but it is expected to pick up in the third and fourth quarters once reconstruction efforts begin which will lead to a significant import of building materials.
Source : Bernama