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India-Japan business leaders agree to boost contacts.

NEW DELHI, Dec. 1 Kyodo

Indian and Japanese business leaders concluded a two-day meeting Tuesday resolving to increase their interaction despite strains in bilateral political ties following New Delhi's nuclear tests last May. Participants decided to have regular interaction between Indian businesses and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Indian capital, according to a joint statement issued at the end of the 29th Joint Meeting of India-Japan Business Cooperation Committees. They also decided to create a Web site in the Japanese language, a guide book on investment in India and a compendium of policies and guidelines with a view to improving business ties, the statement said. Japanese delegation leader Nobuhiko Kawamoto, chairman of the Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee, told a press conference that while the Japanese private sector would ideally like to continue business ties with India at the same level as in the past, ''Unfortunately there are some gaps.'' But he added that a series of high-level visits from both sides following the nuclear tests have led to a ''systematic improvement in relations'' between the two countries. Jiro Aiko, standing committee chairman of the Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee, identified two major stumbling blocks for improved bilateral business ties -- the recession-ridden Japanese economy and the investment environment in India, which he said suffers from poor infrastructure and bureaucratic controls. The 80-member Japanese delegation included top executives from Sony Corp., the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Toyota Motor Corp., Japan Airlines. The annual meeting, held alternately in the two countries, was the first since the nuclear tests, which prompted Japan and other countries to slap economic sanctions on India. However, relations have improved in the last two months with several bilateral visits, including those by India's Industry Minister Sikander Bhakt and Indian business leaders. The stalled political dialogue is expected to be resumed shortly, according to business leaders and diplomats in New Delhi. Japan is India's fourth largest trading partner and ranks fourth in foreign direct investment.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Dec 7, 1998
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