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Chennai, Aug. 8

Japan wants to co-operate with India in improving its manufacturing technology, Mr Yasukuni Enoki, Japanese Ambassador to India, said today.

Speaking at the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on `Future Perspective of Japan-Indian Relations', Mr Enoki outlined three broad areas of action: conclusion of the CEPA, Co-operation in Japan-India manufacturing technology and people-to-people exchange.

These three areas, the Ambassador said, was to his mind the "architecture" of future India-Japan collaboration, something that he wished to be the agenda of discussion when the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, visits Japan later this year.

Lower tariffs sought

While underlining the importance of the India-Japan CEPA, Mr Enoki said, "we are not so optimistic that these negotiations will be easy". This, he said, was because India had an average tariff of 20 per cent, while Japan had zero. He called for lower of tariffs by India. Japan, on its part, could allow Indian nurses, doctors, advocates and engineers into Japan.

On Japan's co-operation with India in manufacturing technology, the Ambassador noted that around the 16th century India dominated the world in manufacturing, especially in textiles. Japan today had a very rich stock of India fine cloth (muslin). Indians were leaders in textile design and dyeing. But two centuries of colonisation destroyed the technological base of India.

Manufacturing tech

Today, Japan could work with India for improving its manufacturing technology. Mr Enoki spoke of the growing partnership between India and Japanese technology institutes and training of Indian workers in Japan. For instance, he said that Toyota India would soon start a programme under which it would give textbooks and other teaching material to select Indian engineering institutions, in the area of automotive technology. Calling for a "massive co-operation for revving up India's manufacturing," Mr Enoki also wanted "effective utilisation of Overseas Development Assistance (that India received) in improving manufacturing infrastructure."

Year of friendship

On people-to-people contact, Mr Enoki said that next year would be named the year of friendship between India and Japan. He said his endeavour would first be towards raising the number of Indian tourists to Japan. In this connection, he called for more direct flights between India and Japan. He also said that he intended to ease visa procedures so that visa applications are simpler at least for those who go to Japan on package tours. Mr Enoki said he would implore Bollywood to shoot more films in Japan and encourage youth-exchange programmes.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 9, 2006)
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