TOKYO - Three agreements - in trade, infrastructure and technology - were inked between Singapore and Japan on Wednesday morning (Sept 28) on the sidelines of a conference to mark 50 years of bilateral ties.
The pacts were signed at a business symposium co-organised by The Straits Times and Japanese media group Nikkei Business Publications at the United Nations University in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is in Tokyo for a four-day official visit, will witness the exchange of the documents with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of a bilateral meeting to be held on Wednesday evening.
The trade agreement involves the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), and promises to boost connectivity between both countries.
This will be done in three ways: sharing market knowledge and business networks through company visits; fostering business collaborations; and undertaking joint projects in "third-country markets" such as in South-east Asia and South Asia.
IE Singapore has been busy helping home-grown companies expand into Japan. Last Thursday, barbecued pork retailer Bee Cheng Hiang opened its first Japan store in Tokyo's chic Ginza district, while Salad Stop will also make its Japanese debut later this year in Tokyo, noted IE Singapore chief executive officer Lee Ark Boon.
Budget airline Scoot this week announced direct flights between Hokkaido and Singapore, allowing Japanese agricultural producers to fly supplies straight from the north of Japan to other markets in the region via Singapore.
In a speech at the symposium, Mr Lee said the trade agency looks forward to working closely with Jetro, its Japanese counterpart, and Japanese companies to promote technological advancements and innovation.
The infrastructure pact was inked by Singapore urban and infrastructure development consultancy Surbana Jurong, and the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (also known as Join).
Both companies will strengthen their collaboration and information exchange with regards to potential infrastructure projects - such as railways and transport systems, toll roads, port and airport terminals, urban development and logistics - in territories such as Singapore, South-east Asia, India, Middle East and Africa.
The third agreement was between two tertiary institutions - the Nanyang Techological University (NTU) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), which last signed a memorandum of understanding in January 2015.
Under the new supplementary pact, signed by NTU chief of staff, Professor Lam Khin Yong, and Tokyo Tech executive vice-president for education and international affairs, Professor Toshio Maruyama, the two institutions will enter into a research collaboration agreement.
They will also work together in joint research and technology developments in areas such as environmental engineering, nuclear safety and engineering, robotics and technology enhanced learning.
The partnership between NTU and Tokyo Tech will also encourage the commercialisation of research, said Prof Lam.
“NTU and TIT will provide the professors with seed funding to ensure they have the resources to embark on their research… but the final objective is for the professors to take their research ideas to government funding agencies or companies in Singapore and Japan to sell their ideas and get more research grants and funding,” he said.