Uniqlo, other Japanese firms eye expansion in PH


(Source: By Ronron Calunsod, Kyodo News | June 3, 2015)

Prominent Japanese companies already operating in the Philippines conveyed Tuesday their expansion plans to visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino, his communications minister said.

According to Secretary Herminio Coloma, Senji Miyake, chairman of Kirin Holdings Co. “expressed great interest in expanding their investments in the Philippines” during his meeting with Aquino immediately after the latter’s arrival here for his four-day state visit.

Kirin has shares in the Philippines’ San Miguel Corp.

Marubeni Corp., which has a 105-year history in the Philippines, is also “upbeat about current investments in power and energy development, mass transportation and water,” Coloma said.

Teruo Asada, chairman of Marubeni, also expressed “great interest in exploring new fields of business development, such as commercial vehicles” in his separate meeting with Aquino, added Coloma.

For his part, Tadashi Yanai, chairman of Fast Retailing Co., maker of Uniqlo apparels, “expressed appreciation for the auspicious results of their initial foray into the Philippine retail market.”

Uniqlo has already set up 23 shops in the Philippines since its launch in 2012, employing around 1,200 people.

In his meeting with Aquino, Yanai “spoke highly of the quality of Filipino employees in terms of talent and interpersonal skills,” Coloma said.

Speaking to the Filipino community later in the evening, Aquino said Fast Retailing appears to be on the way of achieving its initial target of establishing 200 shops in the Philippines, “and even intends to accelerate it.”

Capping Aquino’s business meetings on his first day in Tokyo was the signing of a memorandum of cooperation with the Japan External Trade Organization “to further accelerate two-way trade.”

Coloma said JETRO praised the Philippine Economic Zone Authority for transforming “red tape to red carpet” for foreign investors.

Aquino will meet with other business groups in Japan such as the Japanese Business Federation, also known as Keidanren, and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry to lure more Japanese investments in the Philippines.

The Philippine leader, who will also meet with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will end his visit on Friday.