The Economic Times: December, 2014
Hyderabad: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday promised his government's cooperation in the development of Andhra Pradesh and in helping the state build a world-class capital city.
"Japan will extend full cooperation to the new state of Andhra Pradesh in its development and also in building the capital city," Abe told Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is on a five-day tour of Japan. Naidu met Abe in Tokyo after signing a string of agreements with some of Japan's leading banks, funding agencies and companies, including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Hitachi group, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (Nedo), Iseki and Kobelco.
Sumitomo Mitsui offered to assist Japanese companies, especially those developing smart city technologies, explore investment opportunities in Andhra Pradesh.
Naidu assured full support to Japanese firms after Sumitomo Mitsui's senior advisor Fumio Hoshi pointed out that while the Indian government was welcoming Japanese companies, state governments were not that proactive.
In response to Hitachi group vicepresident Akira Shimizu's observation that land acquisition and taxation were the two main challenges faced by Japanese firms in India, the chief minister said he will set up a dedicated office to ensure hassle-free clearances to Japanese investments in Andhra Pradesh.
"We will set up an office to clear Japanese investments. This will have an escort officer, who will ensure that companies get faster clearances. This office will be on the lines of that set up in China," Naidu's office said in a statement quoting the chief minister.
Hitachi has evinced interest in infrastructure projects in Andhra Pradesh, including seaports and smart cities.
In their meeting with Naidu, top executives of Toshiba Corporation said their company will be keen to invest in energy, water, healthcare and skill development projects in the state, while Softbank's chairman Masayoshi Son agreed to support solar projects in Andhra Pradesh.
During Naidu's visit, the Andhra Pradesh government has signed memorandums of understanding with the Japanese ministry of economy, trade and industry, Nedo, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan External Trade Organisation and Japan Interational Cooperation Agency. The MoUs are aimed at facilitating Japanese investments in the state.
Besides, Kobe Steel group and Kobelco Cranes have signed memorandums of understanding with Andhra Pradesh-based special economic zone Sri City for further investments. Japan's biggest retain chain Uniqlo has also evinced interest in investments in Andhra Pradesh.