Japan’s Abe pushes ASEAN relations

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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s newly elected prime minister Shinzo Abe has embarked on a visit to Southeast Asian nations on his first trip abroad after taking office on promises to bolster economic ties and to discuss security issues in the region.

Abe is visiting Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, three ASEAN countries that are major manufacturing bases and growing markets for Japanese companies as the government seeks to expand its moribund economy.

The region is gaining in significance as manufacturers seek to balance risks from their investments in China, where anti-Japanese riots sparked by tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea have hammered exports and prompted boycotts of some Japanese products.

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi was Abe’s first stop on the trip on January 16. Japan is Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with total investment of $29 billion in 1,800 projects. Japan is also Vietnam’s largest bilateral donor, providing nearly $20 billion in low-interest loans in the past 20 years for infrastructure projects.

On January 17, Abe arrived in Thailand.  Japan is also the biggest overseas investor in Thailand. Between 1970 and 2012, Japanese investors applied for investment promotional privileges for 7,302 projects with a combined investment of 2.7 trillion baht – about one-fourth of all foreign investment in the country.

One issue of concern discussed by Abe during his visits is the South China Sea conflict. Japan and China have contesting claims to East China Sea islands, while Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan all have overlapping claims with Beijing in the South China Sea.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s newly elected prime minister Shinzo Abe has embarked on a visit to Southeast Asian nations on his first trip abroad after taking office on promises to bolster economic ties and to discuss security issues in the region.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s newly elected prime minister Shinzo Abe has embarked on a visit to Southeast Asian nations on his first trip abroad after taking office on promises to bolster economic ties and to discuss security issues in the region.

Abe is visiting Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, three ASEAN countries that are major manufacturing bases and growing markets for Japanese companies as the government seeks to expand its moribund economy.

The region is gaining in significance as manufacturers seek to balance risks from their investments in China, where anti-Japanese riots sparked by tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea have hammered exports and prompted boycotts of some Japanese products.

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi was Abe’s first stop on the trip on January 16. Japan is Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with total investment of $29 billion in 1,800 projects. Japan is also Vietnam’s largest bilateral donor, providing nearly $20 billion in low-interest loans in the past 20 years for infrastructure projects.

On January 17, Abe arrived in Thailand.  Japan is also the biggest overseas investor in Thailand. Between 1970 and 2012, Japanese investors applied for investment promotional privileges for 7,302 projects with a combined investment of 2.7 trillion baht – about one-fourth of all foreign investment in the country.

One issue of concern discussed by Abe during his visits is the South China Sea conflict. Japan and China have contesting claims to East China Sea islands, while Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan all have overlapping claims with Beijing in the South China Sea.

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