Japan banks now focusing on Islamic funds
Web posted at: 3/12/2008 6:44:26
Source ::: The Peninsula doha • From a simple oil sellers and buyers trade relationship, Japan has adopted a more sophisticated approach towards the Gulf based on a two-way traffic of capital flow, according to Japan’s Energy and Natural Resources Finance Department Director General, Tadashi Maeda. Maeda, who also addressed a session on investment generation between Asia and the Gulf States said: “Oil and gas is the primary sector for us and our dependence on Gulf oil still accounts for up to 80 percent of our needs. But, the Japanese Government underscores the importance of investment into the downstream sector, such as petrochemicals. This is a very strategic investment from the Japanese side.” He said several Japanese companies have made significant investments in petrochemical and power sector in the region as a means for a two-way capital flow approach. On the other hand there has been significant investment from the Gulf to Asia totaling some $16bn with the largest portion going to Japan, he said. Maeda also said that Japan can play the role of a gateway internationally in a regional market from Asia which would help strengthen inter-regional linkages between Asia and the Gulf. In this regard Japanese banks have been focusing on the importance of Islamic funds because “we recognize the importance of Islamic finance with total assets reaching some one trillion dollars,” he said. Therefore, Japan along with Muslim countries in Asia, in particular Malaysia, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Malaysia to create an integrated Islamic Financial Market in Asia. The Financial Market would attract more investments fro the Gulf including the sovereign wealth funds in the region and strengthen ties between the Gulf and Asia which is very important in terms of the energy security, Maeda, who is also Japan Bank for International Cooperation Director General, said.