Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Nov. 30 the country was changing its past reluctance and welcoming foreign investment, in a meeting with a French business delegation, an official said. Abe said Japan had a "change of mindset" and found foreign investment "important," a delegation member said.
Abe, who took office in September, outlined priorities for his government including structural reforms, education and reform of the pacifist post-World War II constitution, the French official said.
The Japanese premier also confirmed he would travel soon to France. A press report had said Abe will head in early January to Belgium, Britain, France and Germany. Abe was quoted as telling the delegation that both "Japan's part of the French market and France's part of the Japanese market were insufficient."
France is the third largest foreign investor in Japan after the U.S. and the Netherlands. Japan is the fifth biggest investor in France after the U.S., Germany, Britain and Sweden.
Abe's predecessor Junichiro Koizumi spearheaded a push to reduce barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI) in Japan, notably with a pledge in January 2003 to double Japan's total FDI stock within five years.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006