Japan looks forward to ‘broad-based’ Look East Policy

Japan’s ambassador to Malaysia Makio Miyagawa says both countries will benefit from a revival of the Look East Policy. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan’s ambassador to Malaysia says his country keenly looks forward to seeing Malaysia’s Look East Policy from three decades ago being revived.

Makio Miyagawa says as it will entail a broad range of collaborations to benefit both sides.

He said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, will discuss the issue in general terms when Mahathir visits Japan next week.

He said the policy was wide-ranging and would see cooperation not just in industrial matters but also in the field of education.

“Even safety and security (are covered).

“So, we are very much looking forward to this,” he said after meeting Council of Eminent Persons chairman Daim Zainuddin here today.

Without disclosing further details on the expected discussions, he said the two prime ministers would deliberate over matters related to “reinvigorating” the collaboration.

He said the visit would present a good opportunity for the Japanese government to learn from Mahathir himself about Malaysia’s outlook after the recent general election.

“We are honoured to have Dr Mahathir in Tokyo next week to hear from him about the fundamental policies of the new administration,” he said.

Mahathir, who is scheduled to attend a forum organised by Nikkei Shimbun in Tokyo, had said last week that he would raise the Look East Policy that he had promoted during his previous tenure as prime minister in the 1980s and 1990s.

He said he would be holding an informal meeting with Abe, who had invited him.

The Look East Policy was introduced after Mahathir became the fourth prime minister in 1981, in the wake of a trade dispute with Britain.

Mahathir had then launched a “buy British last” campaign.

The policy was then introduced to encourage Malaysians to adopt Japanese work ethics and to emulate successful development models in Asia, instead of looking to Western countries.

Ahead of Japan visit, Look East Policy on Dr M’s mind