Kolkata, 4 February : The Japanese Consul General in Kolkata today regretted that even as the Japanese investment in rest of India was increasing by ‘manifold’ every year,it was dwindling in Eastern India,particularly in West Bengal,for the past few years because of the age old perception and the lack of proper marketing by the state.
‘It is a very sad state of affairs, and despite my all out efforts since 2016, no major investment has come from Japan to West Bengal which once boasted of having the largest investment from Mitsubishi in Haldia Petrochemicals Limited’, said the Consul General of Japan in Kolkata Taga Masayuki here this evening.
Participating in an interactive session on ‘Indo-Japan Partnership for Peace and Prosperity’, organised by the city’s premier Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry(MCCI), the Japanese envoy said it was very unfortunate that out of altogether 1441 Japanese companies currently operating in India, about 50 per cent of them remained in the Delhi NCR region only,while altogether 21 companies from his country were in West Bengal and a few others in Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Replying to queries about the prime reasons for such a decline when even about a decade ago a number of major Japanese companies like Mitsubishi,Marubeni and Mitsui had made substantial investment in West Bengal,Consul General Masayuki, a career diplomat, without going into any details, blamed the wrong perception about the state among the businessmen in his country as one of the prime factors for such a situation now.
On whether the lack of marketing ability of the state government before the foreign investors and their alleged failure to present the state as the Gateway to the East Asia with a population base of over 500 million people, could be other reasons for the alleged failure to attract more Japanese investment ? he replied in the positive.
‘I have also repeatedly suggested that a team from the state government should go to at least New Delhi, not even Japan, to meet the Japanese businessmen there and try to convince them to come and invest in a changing West Bengal’, he said and indicated that so far his suggestions had fallen into deaf ears.
He also regretted that despite his best efforts no representative office of the Japan External Trade Organisation(JETRO)could be set up in Kolkata so far, while they were present in all other major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and even Chennai.
Earlier welcoming the guest MCCI Senior Vice President Akash Shah said in the wake of very good personal friendly relations between Prime minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries had now crossed the 15.71 billion USD mark with huge growth of businesses on both sides.
He said while India’s primary exports to Japan comprised petroleum products,chemicals,non metalic minerals, fish products, textile and yarn among many others, it imported from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ were various machinery,auto components, Iron and steel, electronic gadgets, machine tools and organic chemicals.