Source: Vientiane Times
Laos and Japan have affirmed their desire to further their economic and trade cooperation, especially by encouraging more Japanese businesses to invest in Laos.
According to a report by Laos’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the value of Japanese business operations in Laos is ranked 14th out of all investors. Some 165 Japanese companies have invested in 106 projects in Laos, with a total investment value of US$121 million.
In 2022 Laos-Japan bilateral trade was worth US$278 million, of which exports to Japan were worth US$131 million and imports from Japan were worth US$147 million. The figures were highlighted when Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune and his delegation visited Japan from March 1-7.
Mr. Phoxay met with the Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Shunsuke Takei to express his appreciation for the fruitful results of cooperation between Laos and Japan in past years.
The two ministry leaders agreed to continue the strategic partnership between Laos and Japan, which was upgraded to a higher level in 2015 to strengthen the relationship.
The two sides also agreed to arrange more reciprocal visits by high-ranking leaders of Laos and Japan, to further promote economic cooperation and bilateral trade, and increase Japanese business investment in Laos. They also agreed to continue to promote tourism between the two countries.
In addition, they will make joint preparations to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Asean-Japan relations and the Asean-Japan Summit, which will take place in Japan in December this year.
Japan’s support for Laos’ third Asean presidency in 2024 was also discussed.
Events will also be organized to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and Japan on March 5, 2025. The two sides discussed support and assistance for Japan’s hosting of the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, with great hopes for its success.
Over the years, Japan has supported Laos in the development of human resources, health, basic infrastructure, agriculture and forestry, unexploded ordnance disposal, and other fields. After his meeting with Mr. Takei, Mr. Phoxay met with other officials from the Japanese government and business community.
Laos was one of the first four countries to which Japan sent volunteers to assist with development in various fields, with this form of support beginning in 1965.
To date, at least 1,041 Japanese volunteers (including 20 in 2022) and more than 4,500 Japanese experts (including 45 in 2022) have undertaken assignments in Laos.
Japan is Laos’ top development partner in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA), which averages US$90 million-US$100 million annually.
Last year, Japan provided assistance to Laos worth more than 5 billion yen (US$44 million) for the development of human resources, improvement of educational institutions, prevention of natural disasters, and UXO clearance.