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Japan, Thailand Look to Put Disasters in the Past

April 4, 2012

Below is an excerpt from an interview that first appeared on World Politics Review with John J. Brandon, director of Regional Cooperation Programs for The Asia Foundation in Washington, D.C.

WPR: What is the current state of relations between Japan and Thailand?

This year marks the 125th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between Japan and Thailand. Bilateral ties, particularly in the economic sphere, have strengthened considerably over the past decade. With 49 percent of foreign direct investment to Thailand coming from Japan, exports up 8.3 percent and the number of tourists from Japan rising by 13 percent last year, Japan is playing a crucial role in Thailand’s economic plans. In 2007, the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement was signed, aiming at free trade between both nations by 2017. Japan is Thailand’s largest supplier, particularly in the area of automobile parts, as Japanese imports to Thailand account for almost 21 percent of the country’s total. Japan is also Thailand’s second-largest export market. Leaders in both nations have pledged to expand bilateral trade to reach $100 billion by 2017.

WPR: How have the Fukushima disaster and last year’s floods in Thailand affected bilateral ties?

Brandon: The earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011 and the floods in Thailand later that year had adverse impacts on business in both nations. On March 6, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made an official visit to Japan to help rejuvenate investor confidence after the catastrophic floods…

Read the full interview.

Related locations: Japan, Thailand, Washington DC
Related programs: Regional and International Relations

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