‘Japan looking at Gujarat as investment destination’

The Consul General of Japan Kiyoshi Asako on Friday said Japan was "watching Gujarat with great interest" and expects the state to become a "destination" for future Japanese investments.

"Japan is watching Gujarat with great interest as an investment destination. We are looking to set up our offices, factories and businesses in the state. Our expectations are so high that more than 100 companies participated in the Vibrant Gujarat summit this year," said Asako during his visit to the city for inaugurating a three-day Japan festival in the city.

"While about 10 of our companies signed MoUs with the state government during Vibrant Gujarat, there are many Japanese companies who are watching and studying Gujarat," he added. "We already have a number of Japanese nationals living in Gujarat. According to our survey geld in October last year, there are about 88 Japanese living here," Asako said, adding that their number is expected to rise as new businesses open and existing ones expand. There are currently about 20 small and big Japanese companies that have set up base in the state.

"More people are expected to come, as and when new investments happen. Most of them will be engineers and management executives," he said. "A number of auto-parts firms are keen on coming to Gujarat," he remarked, hinting that the proposed Maruti Suzuki car manufacturing plant in Gujarat is expected to bring in a number of auto-ancillaries from Japan.

According to Mukesh Patel, president of Indo-Japan Friendship Association, there are about 45 Japanese living in Ahmedabad. "We expect this number to touch 200 by the end of 2014," said Patel. A few months ago, Gujarat's first Japanese restaurant also opened in Ahmedabad.

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