Comment by H.E. Mr. Joe NAKANO,
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Government of Japan
on the Occasion of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum
(Ministerial Round Table)
Doha, Qatar on April 22, 2012
- Thank you for giving me this precious opportunity to discuss investment issues with policy leaders. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the chairpersons as well as every person who has rendered their valuable support to make this round table possible.
- On behalf of the Japanese people and the Government of Japan, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude for the strong solidarity and warm support extended by the international community in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. One year out from this unprecedented disaster, we are steadily taking steps towards Japan's reconstruction, what we call "open reconstruction to the world".
Japan's Experience with Inward FDI
- Recognizing the necessity for sustainable development and economic recovery from the earthquake, inward FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is a crucial element especially in the affected areas.
- "Open reconstruction" mainly consists of special tax measures and deregulation. Moreover, to promote further inward FDI, Japan has finalized a comprehensive Program and reviewed its laws and regulations in a strategic and proactive manner to make the Japanese investment environment more attractive to foreign investors.
- We also believe that we can share our experiences and lessons learned with developing countries on promoting the importance and effectiveness of not only outward but also inward investment.
Importance of Improving the Business Environment
- In order to achieve a favorable investment environment, deregulation or liberalization which assures foreign investors of legal stability and predictability is one of the key factors. Specifically, transparency and non-discrimination principles are core elements ensuring a level playing-field for every investor.
- It is also important to respect environmental measures to preserve ecological systems from a long-term perspective.
- In order to improve the investment environment, ownership on the part of developing countries is essential to establishing partnerships with international society, which includes donors and international organizations.
- Also, south-south cooperation is meaningful in sharing knowledge among developing countries, which Japan has been actively supporting. A project in Zambia in collaboration with Malaysia is one such example.
Japan's Cooperation for Investment
- Now I would like to introduce Japan's experience and cooperation on improving the business environment aiming to promote outward FDI.
- Japan has been cooperating for investment in 3 spheres: (1) capacity building, (2) establishing legal architecture, and (3) investment promotion through shared information.
- For capacity building, Japan helps fostering the human resources of host countries and improving infrastructure by means of ODA or PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) schemes. For example, Japan is making nationwide efforts to support private business in offering a package of essential infrastructure development to the world such as urban transportation, water supply, and energy.
- With respect to establishing legal architecture, Japan has been pursuing high-level EPAs/BITs bilaterally, and also engaging in developing investment policy frameworks in the multilateral arena, such as the OECD and APEC.
- In terms of investment promotion through shared information, provision of information which facilitates encounters among foreign and domestic enterprises is essentially important, not only for hosting countries but also for investing countries.
- As an example, Japan has dispatched concerted missions from both the public and private sectors to Africa since 2008. We see it necessary to provide investors with updated information to retain their commercial interest in such areas.
- I would like to add that Japan is hosting TICAD V to be held in Yokohama in June 2013, which has evolved into a major and unique global framework for promoting African development and economic growth through FDI. I am confident that the discussions here will provide fruitful insights for TICAD V.
Contribution of UNCTAD
- Finally, I would like to express my expectation of UNCTAD for further contribution to promote mutual FDI.
- Japan appreciates monitoring on investment-related measures carried out by UNCTAD in collaboration with other international organizations. Furthermore, reports such as "World Investment Report" and "Investment Policy Reviews" greatly contribute to further understanding on investment in developing countries and support for formulation of investment policies. UNCTAD provides useful analytical research and a database on IIAs (international investment agreements). These areas of UNCTAD should be strengthened as a comparative advantage of the organization, and I hope that further progress will be made toward doing so.
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