Faris Alrushud Riyadh
Koki Tomioka, chief representative of the Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME) in Riyadh, has said several projects are being implemented that will contribute to the development and promotion of trade in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, especially in Saudi Arabia, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
In an interview with Arab News, Tomioka reaffirmed the JCCME’s intention to be one of the leading contributors to the development of infrastructure in the Kingdom through investment promotion and business support, reinforcement of bilateral economic relations, support for water-related business, and support for human resource development and information services.
The JCCME was set up in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s with its regional headquarters in Riyadh. Since then, it has expanded in Dammam and the Eastern Province by opening an office for its Investment Desk, while another office for its Water Desk has been opened in Jeddah.
From the outset, the JCCME was mainly engaged in supporting projects in the Kingdom, Tomkioka said, adding that it operated the secretariat for the Japan-Saudi Arabia Industrial Cooperation Task Force.
The task force had been established in accordance with the “Joint Statement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Japan” for 10 years from 2007 to 2017.
In 2018, the JCCME set up an investment promotion scheme based on the results of the task force’s recommendations with a view to contributing to the realization of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030.
On the successes achieved by JCCME as a foreign organization in Saudi Arabia, Tomioka said Japanese companies faced challenges they when they entered the Saudi market, which was different from the Japanese market culturally, socially and commercially. Communication required more effort and some government action took more time in comparison with Japan.
Tomioka praised the successes of the JCCME in supporting companies operating in different fields in the Kingdom. These included Saudi Electronics & Home Appliances Institute, which was established as part of a joint industrial-cooperation effort by the two countries in 2009.
“With the assistance of technical and vocational school and electronics and home appliance manufacturers, we dispatch technical experts, develop educational materials, prepare curriculums, and train Saudi instructors,” he said.
“So far, the institute has produced 10 batches of graduates (total of 821), who are at work utilizing the technical skills they have acquired to repair Japanese-manufactured electronic equipment and home appliances.”
Tomioka said the Saudi market is full of investment opportunities.
He said the JCCME is looking to sign new agreements in the Kingdom for projects supporting water-related businesses, investment promotion and business development.