Reflecting on a number of topics, ranging from Malaysia’s Vision 2020, to cooperation in the fields of economy, education and fight against global warming, Dr. Makio Miyagawa, Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia, does not hide his enthusiasm of leading a diplomatic team which is eagerly working to launch the multiple avenues of bilateral cooperation to even higher levels.
European Times: What is your opinion regarding the bilateral relations between both countries?
Dr. Makio Miyagawa: We build upon a 60 year-long tradition of cordial relations between the two countries and their citizens, with strong trade links, business partnerships and political cooperation. Our relations, while traditionally focused on the economic, cultural, educational and societal fields, have recently been uplifted to a strategic partnership incorporating security and defence collaboration, allowing the transfer of defence technology and equipment between the two countries. Malaysia plays a key role for peace and stability in South East Asia. In view of its diplomatic and strategic gravity in the region, reinforcing capability of Malaysia is important.
European Times: How do you evaluate the potential of the Malaysian economy? What is the level of economic cooperation between both countries?
Dr. Makio Miyagawa: Malaysia’s GDP per capita is nearly US$10.000, which is very high amongst Southeast Asian countries. It has exceeded other nations in the level of economic development, moving towards a developed nation status, in line with its Vision 2020.
Over 1.400 Japanese companies are engaging in business in Malaysia, creating no less than 400.000 job opportunities for its citizens and residents. Japan is the largest investor here in terms of accumulated investments in a variety of areas such as high technology, automobile manufacturing, electric and electronic products, energy, water supply, housing, roads and public transport. Japanese companies have invested in the construction of an ultra-super critical coal powered plant, as well a 50 km tunnel pipeline linking the water reservoir in Pahang to Selangor.
For many years, Japanese industries such as Panasonic, Toyota or Isuzu, have constantly expanded their business operations. Furthermore, the Mitsui Corporation collaborates with Malaysian industries to set up medical care centres with advanced technologies, catering to the needs of domestic and overseas patients coming to Malaysia. Mitsubishi Corporation also cooperates with Petronas and other oil and natural gas industries, helping Malaysian companies in the export of their natural resources.
Guided by its global vision, Malaysia is engaged in developing “Islamic industries”, such as Islamic finance centres and the Halal business. Any business bridge, built in Malaysia, can easily reach out to Islamic nations, including those in the surrounding region and the Middle East.
European Times: What is the image of Malaysia in Japan?
Dr. Makio Miyagawa: The Malaysian Government’s decision in the early 1980’s to send young students to Japan to emulate our way of doing business has had a deep impact on bringing the societies of the two nations closer together. The students returning to Malaysia have been serving to the development of Malaysia and have been working closely with Japanese industries, inviting our investors to this country. For Japan, Malaysia represents an excellent market for investments. Malaysians are fond of Japan and its culture and society, quadrupling the number of their visits to Japan in the last five years.