Japan has pledged to expand investment in Thailand, especially in high-technology industries such as electric vehicles (EVs), smart electronics, medical services and bio-, circular and green (BCG) businesses, according to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who led a delegation to roadshows in Tokyo and Kanagawa during April 19-23.
Mr Supattanapong said following a meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda on April 21 that the two sides also vowed to continue their strategic partnership as Thailand and Japan mark the 135th anniversary of formal relations.
Japan agreed to strengthen cooperation and offer assistance in the areas of energy and emissions reduction under the Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI), he said.
Tokyo earlier this year outlined the AETI, under which it promised US$10 billion to Thailand and other Asean members for renewable energy, energy efficiency, liquefied natural gas and other projects that are expected to create new jobs and investment.
Mr Supattanapong said executives of 10 companies from the automotive, electronics and medical sectors who he met during the Japan visit also expressed confidence in Thailand's potential and remain committed to using Thailand as their production base.
He said the Thai government informed Japanese investors about incentives for S-curve industries, particularly the latest perks for the EV sector approved by the cabinet in February.
Automotive companies are eager to join the Thai government's EV package and invest over the next 1-2 years, said Mr Supattanapong. They are also keen on battery investment for EVs in Thailand and promoting battery recycling.
Regarding the electronics industry, Japan uses Thailand as a production base for midstream and downstream semiconductors, and smart electronics for EVs, which are likely to see rapid growth.
He said Japanese companies showed confidence in the potential of Thai employees in the medical industry and agreed to support Thailand using technology to take care of the elderly, as the country is already classified as an ageing society.
Japan suggested Thailand train workers if it really wants to position itself as a production base for high-technology industry development, said Mr Supattanapong.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is scheduled to visit Thailand soon to follow up on the cooperation between the two sides and monitor the progress of the strategic partnership.
The Japan Business Federation is also scheduled to bring 70 members to meet Thai government agencies and their business alliances soon, said Mr Supattanapong.