Japan has pledged it will continue its investments in the Philippines’ big-ticket projects as its ambassador in Manila noted the growing interests of Japanese investors in the country.

Speaking at the Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said there is room for the Philippines and Japan’s partnership “to grow even further” considering that both countries have “very strong, solid economic ties.”

In fact, he said, the presence of different chambers at the event on Thursday proved that there is “a big vote of confidence on the Philippine economy, and the region

In his speech, the envoy noted the two “potent tools for success” of the Philippines-Japan economic relations. They are: accelerating investments and creating innovation.

On accelerating investments, Kazuhiko said Tokyo would share its strength with Manila in terms of infrastructure development, energy security and global warming prevention, and the improvement of the business environment.

“The Philippine economy is on the upswing, and this creates a bigger window of opportunity for everyone,” he said.

“We believe that aside from the revenues from the service industries and international remittances from overseas workers, it is vital for the Philippines to create a level-playing field for its business environment that is as attractive as, or more attractive than that of the other ASEAN countries,” he added.

On creating innovations, Kazuhiko said, Tokyo would support entrepreneurs and start-ups and develop human resources.

He said it is vital for both countries to encourage more innovations from the private sector that should “design an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and startup businesses to thrive.”

To achieve such a goal, Kazuhiko said, Tokyo will implement the following:

• build human resources and networks for startup creation
• strengthen the supply of funds for startups and diversifying strategies; and
• promote open innovation

Kazuhiko also saw the need for more trained and skilled workers as the Philippines’ Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry is improving remarkably.

“This is an issue that Japan is currently dealing with as well. As industries related to information and communication technologies continue to emerge, there is an ever-growing need to train people with advanced IT and data analysis skills,” he said.

What they do in Japan, he said, is that the government is establishing a system of preferential treatment to accelerate the inflow of highly-skilled foreign professionals.

Therefore, as both sides forge commitments in priority industries, Kazuhiko said: “We want to assure you that Japan will continue to invest in big-ticket projects to help shape a thriving future for our fellow Filipinos and for our investors.”