During 30-31 May 2013, Minister Singtong Lapisatepun of the Royal Thai Embassy visited Hiroshima to give a lecture on “Thailand-Japan Economic Relations: Partnership for the Future” to Japanese businesspersons in Hiroshima upon Hiroshima-Thailand Association’s invitation.
The Minister mentioned that Thailand and Japan were old friends and modern partners, which had more than 600-year-history of trade relations. Both countries have traded with each other both at bilateral and multilateral levels and Japan is the biggest trading partner and investor in Thailand. While Thailand ranks sixth among countries of which the number of tourists travel to Japan the most, Japanese tourists visiting Thailand in 2012 numbered over 1.3 million, marking the highest number ever.
In this regards, the Minister encouraged more Japanese investment in Thailand, indicating that ASEAN Community which is to be established in 2015 is the opportunity for Japan to enhance its benefits from ASEAN market. Such advantages can be foreseen as the region has more than 600 million populations with free movement of commodities and services. In addition, Japanese investment in Thailand will benefit from the latter’s strategic location in the region itself, not to mention its role as a production base and business connectivity to ASEAN market. Among its potential projects is Dawei Special Economic Zone, which Thailand and Myanmar governments signed an agreement to co-develop in July 2012 with three level working mechanisms. These opportunities also allow Japan investment in Thailand to reap benefits from regional connectivity.
Hiroshima is an important prefecture in Chugoku region which has favourable relationship with Thailand, especially in trade. In 2012, the total trade value was 106,000 million yen (export from Thailand to Hiroshima valued 8,900 million yen and import from Hiroshima to Thailand valued 97,300 million yen). Fifty-seven Japanese firms investing in Thailand are from Hiroshima, while 661 Thais reside in the prefecture.