Japan wants to increase investment in Indonesia

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Many Japanese investors have expressed great interest in investing in Indonesia following a visit to Japan by President Joko Widodo and Vice-President Jusuf Kalla in March 2015.

That Japanese investors are serious about investing in Indonesia became clear when several delegates from the Japanese Business Association (Keidanren) arrived in Jakarta earlier this week to follow up on matters discussed during their meeting with Indonesia's president and vice-president in Tokyo.

Earlier on Wednesday, a 46-member delegation from Keidanren held separate meetings with Vice-President Kalla and President Joko Widodo. They also met with Industry Minister Saleh Husin the following day to discuss issues related to making investments in Indonesia.

"Japanese investors are serious about investing in Indonesia," Indonesian Ambassador to Japan Yusron Ihza Mahendra stated when asked to comment on the visit by Japanese businessmen led by Keidanren Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara.

"The Japan Business Federation team's meetings with Vice-President Kalla and President Jokowi shows how important Indonesia is for the Japanese business world," Yusron remarked here on Wednesday.

He noted that the visit has been to follow up on matters discussed during their earlier meeting with Kalla and Jokowi in Japan.

According to him, the Keidnren team and the vice-president discussed business opportunities in the fields of electricity, housing, food processing, transportation, airport, licensing, and bullet train.

"Although their talks have not finished, the visit shows that Japanese investors are very serious about making Indonesia their investment destination," he remarked.

He added that next month, former Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda along with a Jepang-Indonesia Association team will visit Indonesia.

Keidanren Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara stated that Japanese investments in Indonesia will increase in the future.

"Japan is the country with the highest investment in Indonesia. In 2014, its investment fell to the second spot, but a lot of investments again came from Japan. In 2015, Japan hopes to become the country with the highest investment in Indonesia," he emphasized.

Sadayuki noted that Indonesia is not only a consumer market or a seller of its goods but also plays the role of an important country that provides goods needed globally, especially in the manufacturing sector.

He emphasized that Japan is keen to invest in infrastructure development including steam-powered, geothermal power, hydropower, and gas-powered electricity plants.

Sadayuki has reported to President Joko Widodo several obstacles that hinders investment ventures in Indonesia, including inadequate infrastructure such as ports, roads, electricity supply, and traffic congestion.

"Although there are obstacles, we wish to participate in developing Indonesias infrastructure. We have made a commitment," he affirmed.

Sadayuki pointed out that besides meeting with the president, the Keindaren delegation will also meet with Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel during their two-day visit to Indonesia.

"We will discuss extensively the efforts to increase investment in Indonesia and cooperation in the economic field," he added.

On Thursday, the Japanese Business Association's delegates were received by Industry Minister Saleh Husin at his office.

"I really hope that this visit can establish stronger and better long-term business relations and cooperation between Indonesia and Japan," Saleh stated.

The industry minister urged the Japanese business delegation to step up cooperation with their Indonesian counterparts to encourage the development of the nation's industry.

Saleh also expressed hope that the leaders of companies in Indonesia can hold a follow-up meeting with Keidanren members to hold a business networking session.

The minister noted that the Japanese business delegation's visit to Indonesia is an opportunity for them to gain firsthand information about the dynamics of the Indonesian economy and explore the areas of cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, and investment.

He pointed out that the Government of Indonesia has set its development priorities in the fields of infrastructure, electricity, maritime, export-oriented industrialization, and the acceleration of regional development.

Saleh pointed out that Japan is increasing investment in Indonesia's automotive industry, so it continues to reinforce its presence.

"We find it necessary to expand the downstream steel industry in the country. Therefore, we are expecting a Japanese investment commitment to develop our downstream steel industry," the industry minister affirmed.

Besides investing in the automotive industry and other sectors, the industry minister has also encouraged Japanese investors to improve their partnerships with local investors to invest in Indonesia.

"Japanese investors are even expected to make Indonesia their production base for exports," the industry minister remarked.

The Japanese Government often involves Keidanren, the most influential business association in the country, in formulating the country's economic policies.

Kalla's and Jokowi's Japanese visit in March has had a positive impact on investment climate in Indonesia.

During his visit, Vice-President Kalla had assured Japanese investors that political situation and investment climate in Indonesia had been good for investing in the country.

The vice-president had also met with the leaders of numerous Japanese companies such as Itochi, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Nomura, and Sumitomo, as well as the leaders of Keidanren.