$500M Japanese investment aligned with Duterte's agri focus

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2016 10:12 PM

Tuna of all shapes and sizes are displayed at the General Santos Fish Port in September 2014 during a world record attempt by the city for the largest fish display. The activity was part of the 2014 Tuna Festival celebration in what is considered the country's tuna fishing capital. File photo by Jay Dayupay, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A group of Japanese companies is looking to invest $500 million (P24 billion) in the Philippines to process aquacultured products for export back to Japan.

The companies plan to farm eel, flying fish, and tuna to be cooked and packaged in the Philippines then sold in Japan.

The targeted areas for investment include General Santos and Davao in Mindanao, the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, and the Cagayan economic zone.

Naoyuki Ishikura, chief operating officer of Nisshin Food Material Company Ltd, one of 15 Japanese companies that are part of the venture, said they have already spent 20 million yen or P9 million as an initial investment.

Noboru Oonishi, chief executive of North Japan Trade, will be in charge of distributing the finished product in Japan.

One of their local partners, former Nueva Ecija Rep. Renato Diaz, said the venture could generate as many as 8,000 jobs in two to two-and-a-half years.

The deal is coming together amid changing business environments in Japan and the Philippines.

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan have unveiled new stimulus measures to help boost the second largest economy in the region out of deflation.

Abe has also delayed a consumer tax hike in hopes of getting his people to buy more.

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte wants more resources directed to agriculture to generate more quality jobs accessible to a larger portion of the population.

He is also emphasizing development outside the National Capital Region.

Diaz and the Japanese believe all of these should contribute to the success of their half-a-billion dollar venture in the Philippines.