Takeshi Yagi, Ambassador of Japan to India, said on Thursday that his country was ready to consider investment in Smart City if the Kerala government brought out suitable proposals.

He was addressing a press conference here. He said his country did not have immediate plans for launching any flagship programme in Kerala. Pointing out that South India was one of the priority areas for Japan, he said the number of Japanese citizens in Bangalore exceeded 1,000, the highest in any city in India. He also promised cooperation in energy networking and port operations. There was a seven-fold increase in trade volume between India and Japan during the last decade, but it was small in relation to the potential. FDI from Japan had gone up by 7-8 times in the past three years, he said. T. Balakrishnan, president of the chamber, and Jacob Kovoor, Secretary, were present at the press meet.

He later inaugurated the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce Kerala here. He said Japanese companies were establishing stronger foothold in Kerala, recognising its potential. He said his country would like to forge ties with India in general and Kerala in particular in a variety of fields.

The number of Japanese companies in India has reached 1072 in 2013. Though there are only 15 Japanese companies operating in Kerala, the number of branches has almost doubled from 53 to 105 in the past one year.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Indian Ministry of Communications and IT started a Joint Working Group on IT and Electronics last year A memorandum was signed between Japan tourism agency and the Ministry of Tourism of India in January.

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