State Affairs

Kochi to host ‘Japan mela’

KOCHI: Shotai Kobayashi was amused to be in a city named Kochi. This turned to amazement when he found it had so much more in common to the city located on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

The vast coastline, beaches, backwaters, verdant nature, the hills at a distance, fishing harbour, marine-related activities and even a shipyard connect these two Kochis, reports The Hindu.

Kobayashi, Specially Appointed Professor of the Medical Department, Shimane University, was deputy leader of the delegation from Japan that explored opportunities of cooperation with Kerala in various fields like tourism, IT, and solid waste management.

A 19-member delegation visited Kochi recently under the aegis of Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce Kerala (INJACK), a non-profit organisation formed under the initiative of Alumni Society of AOTS Kerala, was led by Makoto Furuse, chairman of the Shimane Prefecture United Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

A banker by profession, Furuse had been to the city earlier but the changes have surprised him. “There has been a progressive change in the city. It has become clean and the development is very visible. I was impressed by the metro rail in which we travelled, and also the new airport, especially its effective use of solar power,” says Furuse.

Furuse adds that there have been regular visits by Japanese delegations and that Sanin region has evinced interest primarily in four sectors namely environment, food processing, IT and waste management. Several Japanese companies were looking to expand their operations in tourism and IT industries. The delegation also made a presentation of a sightseeing plan linking Sanin and Setouchi areas that are “full of charm.”

“INJACK is attempting to bridge this gap. Though there are around 1,000 Japanese firms who have established their business in India there has not been an effort to enhance this relationship. Japan Mela 2017, which will be organised at Lulu Mall from December 1 to 3 will hopefully provide the impetus,” informs Johny Philip, spokesperson for INJACK.

An exhibition of Japanese products, food, cultural activities and theme presentations will be held as part of the event. “Artificial intelligence and robotics, tourism, a B2B event on November 30 at Holiday Inn that will be inaugurated by the Japanese Ambassador that is aimed to establish joint ventures and dealerships with Japanese firms, are other events slated to be held as part of the Japan Mela,” says Philip.


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