SAN FRANCISCO: Thailand and Japan have agreed on a reciprocal visa-free scheme for their businesspeople visiting each other, according to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
Thailand has also pledged continuing support for the production of Japanese cars with internal combustion engines, Mr Srettha said after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Wednesday evening.
He and his Japanese counterpart agreed that Thai and Japanese businesspeople should not have to apply for visas beforehand when visiting each other’s country, he said.
“This is to facilitate business contacts. It is good that both sides share the agreement,” Mr Srettha said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will study an appropriate length of stay, he said, adding that it probably should be relatively long to facilitate business visits.
Mr Srettha said he also assured the Japanese prime minister that his government would maintain its support for the production of Japanese vehicles with combustion engines in Thailand.
Japanese automakers, despite their leading position in many world markets, have been relative laggards in the development and production of electric vehicles, offering more hybrid models than battery-EV cars. They are, however, among the leaders in researching hydrogen fuel, though commercialisation could take some time.
“There is high demand for electric vehicles and I have told many forums that Japan has been the biggest investing country in Thailand for 30 years. So, this must be taken care of,” said Mr Srettha.
“Japan confirmed that the automotive business is important and it will continue to develop the business in Thailand."
Mr Kishida, meanwhile, has proposed the creation of an Asian zero-emissions community, in which Japan and other Asian countries would jointly aim to transition to clean energy, Kyodo News reported.
Japan and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year are marking the 50th anniversary of friendship and cooperation with a summit scheduled to take place in Tokyo for three days from Dec 16.