Malaysia and Japan will enhance their cooperation in areas such as Islamic finance. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who wrapped up his three-day visit to Japan, is supporting Japan’s foray into the Islamic market.
Many Japanese businesses are eager to learn and see how they can gain a piece of the pie in the growing market.
on Tuesday gave a keynote speech at the round table meeting of the
World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation and Alliance Forum
Foundation (AFF) in Tokyo - a forum to help link Japan and the Muslim
During his visit to Japan, he reached an agreement with his counterpart Shinzo Abe to enhance cooperation in areas such as the halal food industry and Islamic finance.
discussed the support from the Japanese government, and its
authorities to encourage Japanese enterprises, financial institutions,
and investors to engage in Islamic finance-related activities with
Malaysia. We in turn will offer technical assistance to Japan in this
field,” Mr Najib said.
is still new to businesses catering to Muslims. Restaurants could
well be the most advanced in this area, as more outlets in Japan try
to offer halal cuisine to the growing number of Muslim tourists, particularly from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Japanese banks have also introduced Islamic finance, but the
understanding of business opportunities catering to Muslims is still
Katsuya Hisamichi, corporate officer at Rohto Pharmaceutical's R&D Department, said: “Actually, the Muslim world is quite a new field for us. We haven't had any experience with Muslim countries."
Some companies in the financial sector have had more experience.
Nobuaki Kurumatani, deputy president and board member at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, said: “Our
Islamic finance activities started in 2008 from SMBC Europe that
covered Middle-East countries. We are now focusing on Asia. I think the
two big markets still are growing, and the most promising next step is
focusing on the African market.”
Islamic economy is expected to grow at double digits for the next few
years. Global Islamic finance is estimated at US$2 trillion, while
the halal market is worth around US$2.3 trillion.
The medical industry is hoping to tap on the Muslim market too. “Shortage
of donor in any country has caused problems in heart transplantation.
Also it's very expensive. Almost all countries desire to start stem
cell therapy,” said Yoshiki Sawa, Dean at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine.
better cooperation, Malaysia hopes to help Japanese companies,
academics, and physicians gain the skills for them to participate
actively in the Islamic market.
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