Japan to enhance cooperation with Malaysia in new areas

The Japanese ambassador also wants to tackle global issues together such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and maritime security 

by AZALEA AZUAR / Pic credit: my.emb-japan.go.jp

JAPAN looks forward to enhancing cooperation with Malaysia by exploring new areas in the Look East Policy (LEP) which include disaster risk management, carbon neutral development, health and ageing, digitalisation and aerospace technology. 

Ambassador-designate of Japan to Malaysia Takahashi Katsuhiko said Japan and Malaysia need to work together so they would become a carbon neutral society by the 21st century. 

“Since Japan is a disaster-prone country and we suffer from tsunamis, this is one area we want to cover. 

“We’re also moving towards a carbonneutral society but I think each side has different conditions and problems so jumping to it won’t be an easy one,” he said in his lecture on the 40th anniversary of Malaysia’s Look East Policy at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations yesterday. 

The ambassador also wants to tackle global issues together such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and maritime security since Japan is a pioneer on working on these issues. 

“We are eager to support Africa and the stability of Afghanistan, which unfortunately did not go well last week, but we need to do something to address the suffering of people. 

“Therefore, I really want to pick up this issue and we can explore a new partnership between Japan and Malaysia,” Katsuhiko added. 

He further said that Japan’s position on the Russian-Ukraine crisis is clear and almost the same with the Malaysian government. 

“We do not have the military means to influence the other position so what we do is to provide as much diplomatic effort as possible,” he said. 

Katsuhiko warns that the crisis will have an impact on growth and how we will maintain the international system. 

The LEP was introduced by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed as the government’s aim to study, research and select the best examples and role models from Japan and Korea by adapting it to Malaysia’s conditions. 

A total of 26,000 Malaysians had studied or visited Japan to study and trade as a result of the LEP which began 40 years ago.

According to Katsuhiko, around 8,600 Malaysians have studied in Japan while the other 17,300 have travelled for trade.

“This number has contributed to the development of Malaysia. It is not based on the assessment Japan should do but the Malaysian government had to do.

“I want to express this training programme and the study programme completely to achieve the economic and social development in Malaysia, but at the same time I want more Japanese companies to operate in the country,” he said 

How Japan is able to support Malaysia through the LEP is its study programme which dispatches Japanese teachers into the country, as well as twinning programmes to connect the two educational systems. 

It also has a training programme to meet the requirements of Malaysia through the Japanese International Corporation Agency. 

Malaysia also has a total of 1,500 Japanese companies, a large number compared to other nations in the South-East Asian region and the number keeps increasing. 

“The LEP accelerated the introduction of some of the Japanese companies which may have some impact on the Malaysian economy,” he said. 

“The second outcome of the policy is the enhancement of people to people connection where everyone contributes to enhance relations. 

“What is important for us is that there are lots of government options to study or trade in Japan,” Katsuhiko added.