MANILA, Philippines - Japanese firms are likely to relocate to other countries in Southeast Asia including the Philippines should tensions between China and Japan persist, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI) said.
“If the political issue in China will continue, it will push Japanese firms there to relocate to other countries. Many may want to relocate in Southeast Asia. Japanese investors may want to relocate here,” JCCIPI vice president and executive director Nobuo Fujii said in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said it would be difficult to give a number as to how many companies would move at this point though.
He also said it is hard to tell how long the tensions between the two countries would last.
“The issue may last for one month, two months or may take longer. It may not easily be resolved,” he said.
Protests against Japanese missions as well as shops, restaurants and car dealerships erupted in China over Japan’s move to purchase an island also claimed by Beijing.
The anti-Japan sentiment was even heightened by the anniversary of Japan’s 1931 occupation of parts of China on Tuesday.
Japanese businesses in China such as car manufacturers Toyota and Honda announced factory shutdowns amid the angry protests.
Fujii said that even prior to the violent demonstrations, some Japanese firms were already looking at the Philippines given the rising labor costs in China.
"The Philippines is seen to be an alternative given manpower costs and the quality of labor,” he said.
As compared to other Southeast Asian countries, he said Filipino workers also have an advantage in terms of the ability to speak the English language well.
He said earlier that many Japanese firms are setting up facilities in the Philippines given the availability of labor.
Among the Japanese firms that have made investments to the country recently are Canon and Brother Industries Ltd., both of which printers in their new facilities in Batangas.