TOKYO, Japan – More businesses from Japan could soon be injecting much needed investment dollars into the economy should a Fiji government initiative to attract investors prove successful. The Fiji Embassy based in Tokyo is hoping its “Trade & Investment seminars” will act as the perfect catalyst to get the ball rolling.
The seminar was held last month here in Tokyo where 70 professionals from the central and prefectural government, municipalities representatives, business sector and Non-Governmental Organizations were in attendance.
With the success of the seminar, the Fiji government now wants to follow up with a “Business Development and Investment Workshop to be held in March and April next year in Fiji,” said Mr. Isikeli Nadolo, the First Secretary at the Fiji Embassy based in Tokyo.
Between 30 to 40 Japanese business professionals who are keen to invest in Fiji or import Fiji made goods and services to Japan are being approached to come and see Fiji for themselves.
While most of these Japanese entrepreneurs are keen on traditional areas of investment, there is interest also to “establish language schools, invest in properties for accommodation to cater for Japanese and Asian travellers or set up establishments like beauty schools”.
Currently, according to statistics released in 2015, Japan exports goods and services to Fiji worth $132 million dollars or 7,494 million yen while Japan imports from Fiji just over $100 million dollars or 5,636 million yen worth in products. The Fiji Embassy is hoping to add a few more zeros to the figures by also introducing premium Fijian made products as exports into Japan.
“There certainly are good prospects for Fijian made products or beverages like the new Fiji Rum and the likes, however, the sensitivities surrounding Japanese market access means that the customs side of things will need to be managed before we can see tangible results on exports, assuming that we don’t have supply issues,” added Mr. Nadolo.
Even organic products like virgin coconut oil would be suitable for the Japanese market but there are “sensitivities to packaging and marketing of this type of product and we are currently working on these issues”.
Fiji and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1970, shortly after the former gained independence. The main exports to Japan include fresh and frozen fish, woodchips and pearls while Japan exports primarily vehicles, aircrafts, vessels, machinery and mechanical appliances.
Just under 500 Japanese nationals currently reside in Fiji.
Story and Photos Rachna Nath