Japan sees M'sia as strategic partner in trade, tech, managing disaster, aging society

24 May 2022 08:30am
Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Katsuhiko Takahashi says 2022  marks the 40th Year of Look East Policy.
Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Katsuhiko Takahashi says 2022 marks the 40th Year of Look East Policy.

SHAH ALAM - Japan sees Malaysia as a strategic partner in investment, transferring digital technology, managing an aging society, automation for SMEs and strengthening maritime security but this can only be further strengthened with safety and security in the region.

Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Katsuhiko Takahashi said Malaysia is located at a strategic location between the Indian and Pacific Ocean and safety of the region is crucial.

"We are mainly here for economic policies while helping the government and the people with technology transfer and to enhance Malaysia as a maritime region according to international law," he told Sinar Daily.

This year also marks the 40th Year of Look East Policy. Key areas for Japan remains on enhancing digital economy. "We have set up Japan-Malaysia Smart Manufacturing platform to introduce and implement smart digital technology for SME companies," he said.

Presently Malaysia relies heavily on cheap labour from neighbouring countries to do dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs.

"This will allow Malaysia to produce high end products with higher added value," he said.

Second area is on managing aging society.

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Takahashi said World Bank has said there is a 50 year gap between Malaysia and Japan in becoming an "ageing society". In 2020 Malaysia become "ageing society", and Japan was declared a country with aging society in 1970, "which means Malaysia has a younger and energetic country and eventually it will have an aging society just like Japan," he said. Due to that Malaysia must be prepared, he added, Japan is willing to share it's knowledge in aging health care, pension system and retirement issues.

Japan would also want to help Malaysia with disaster management issues to avoid another Dec 2021 floods.

"Japan is disaster prone country and we have technology to prevent disasters and build back what was damaged immediately," he said. Japan is also keen in assisting Malaysia financially in fighting climate change and to lower carbon emission.

He said Japan would also train Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to enhance security. Takahashi said Japan does not use military power but "we have our approach that is to help people in a way we can." After Ukraine invasion, he said it was crucial for all countries to follow international laws and Japan would help Malaysia maintain its safety navigation and help reduce maritime crime.

"We are providing MMEA with skills and to help enhance capacity by providing training to staff," he added.