Tamil Nadu is back on the radar of Japanese businesses after the visit of the Emperor and Empress of Japan to Chennai. 

An upbeat Consul-General of Japan in south India, Masanori Nakano, said that while their visit was to promote goodwill and strengthen friendly relationship between the two countries, the fact that the royals chose to visit Chennai had brought the focus back on the city, and Tamil Nadu.

“Tamil Nadu is one of the most desired destinations for Japanese companies,” Mr. Nakano said.

Last year, till October, as many as 344 companies had set up shop in Tamil Nadu.

“We expect this number to be surpassed this year. It has the unique geographical advantage, presence of major ports, availability of skilled labour force, and an investor-friendly government,” he said in an interaction at his official residence here.

In contrast, Andhra Pradesh has 88 companies and Kerala, 53.

Japan is keen on participating in infrastructure projects in the State, he said. There were many ongoing projects.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is extending financial and technical support for the preparation of a comprehensive master plan of the Chennai – Bangalore industrial corridor project, which would also benefit Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Talks with the Tamil government on various projects have been progressing well. “Our government has recently exchanged notes to provide ODA [overseas development assistance] loan to Tamil Nadu investment promotion programme in November 2013. This assistance will enable the State to improve the investment climate and also ease hurdles for foreign investors, especially Japanese companies, whose presence is growing in the State,” he said.

The Hogennekal drinking water project, the Tamil Nadu Transmission System Improvement Project and the Chennai Metro Rail Project are among the ODA-funded projects in the State.

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