Japan and Singapore are true ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) partners.
Their shared bond was strengthened during the global pandemic through cooperation in Science, Innovation and Green-Technologies (SING-Tech) and has enabled both nations to address key challenges and create new opportunities.
Key players in Singapore talked to Bridges and share how SING-Tech is supporting and driving key industries:
A productive and fruitful relationship
Ambassador of Japan to Singapore, Ambassador Jun Yamazaki:
“Japan and Singapore enjoy a mature and excellent relationship. While COVID-19 disrupted the vibrant in-person exchanges between our two countries, our close friendly relations remain solid. Last year marked the 55th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. After assuming his position as the Prime Minister of Japan last fall, Mr. KISHIDA Fumio had good phone conversation with Mr. LEE Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. Foreign Ministers Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa and Dr. Vivian BALAKRISHNAN likewise were on the phone, and they discussed promoting cooperation in various areas such as green, digital and trade. These are areas that are crucial in addressing current global challenges.”
“With regard to green diplomacy, a Memorandum of Cooperation on Low-Emissions Solutions was signed between Mr. HAGIUDA Koichi, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, and Mr. GAN Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry, at the time of Minister Hagiuda’s visit to Singapore in January.”
“Cooperation in the digital field is also evolving. In July last year, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation in the field of information and communications, that includes, among other things, digital economy, AI and cyber security. “
“As the digital market is expected to expand rapidly, especially in Asia, we are looking forward to making further contributions in the digital field in ASEAN member states through the utilization of know-how and technologies available to us.”
“Last but not least, Japan and Singapore are important economic partners sharing a strong commitment to free trade. We are working closely together to implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) so that the region may prosper through a free and open economic environment.”
“Japan and Singapore have been working side by side to tackle regional and global challenges. It continues to be a productive and fruitful relationship. The potential for us to learn even more from one another is there. I am confident that the deep trust that exists between Japan and Singapore will continue to flourish in the years to come.”
Connecting Japanese Businesses with Maritime Singapore
Tan Beng Tee, Executive Director, Singapore Maritime Foundation:
“Singapore and Japan enjoy strong ties. In maritime, Singapore is an important base for many of Japan’s leading shipping companies. The largest among them—NYK Line, Mitsui O.S.K. and “K” Line—have significant operations in Singapore. In 2017, they chose Singapore as the headquarters for their joint container line, Ocean Network Express (ONE).”
Established in 2004, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) serves as a conduit between the public and private sectors. We partner Japanese maritime companies to grow in Singapore through three pillars:
- Connect Japanese companies and executives to Singapore’s diverse maritime ecosystem including vessel chartering, ship broking, shipping finance, and with the trading and logistics communities
- Create opportunities for Japanese companies to participate and showcase their innovation on relevant platforms
- Partner Japanese companies to grow a maritime-ready talent pool in Singapore through scholarships, internships, and case competitions
“As global trends such as sustainability and technology accelerate the transformation of the maritime sector, there is much that Singapore and Japan can do together to co-create a greener future for shipping.”
Eiji Hisatomi of JETRO Singapore:
Bridges: How would you describe the Singaporean business environment?
Hisatomi: “ASEAN is not only an important manufacturing base for Japanese companies along with China where supply chains are stretched out, but also a growing market with a population of 650 million and an accelerating digital economy.”
“Singapore is at the center of this whole economic movement. Although the region was briefly disrupted by the Covid pandemic, it has been recovering. Singapore’s emergency response and resilience stands out among the neighboring countries. I expect that the border will be open to more countries and the “hub” function of ASEAN business will recover.”
How are Singapore and Japan working together to reduce carbon emissions and boost innovation?
“Japan is supporting ASEAN countries in their efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The strength of Japanese companies is that they can provide technologies that are tailored to the economic realities of ASEAN countries.”
“Some of the technologies may need to be proven and some may be further innovated, so I believe that Singapore and Japan, which have particular strengths in individual areas of their own, can collaborate.”
What is the ASEAN DXPF Corporate Innovation Program?
“In order for Japanese companies to continue to reap the fruits of growth in the ASEAN market, it is necessary to accelerate the localization of management. In addition, it is necessary to flexibly introduce products and services that meet the rapidly developing local needs.”
“Startups are the ones who can respond flexibly to market needs. JETRO started the ADXPF program which is a platform to support the co-creation between Japanese companies and startups in ASEAN.”
Shinya Kanda Senior Vice President, Asia & Oceania General Manager, Singapore Office, All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA):
“The ANA Group is working to lessen its environmental impact in various ways, including reducing its CO2 emissions. In particular, a key priority area is the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), where the company is taking concrete steps towards realizing a more sustainable society, such as partnering with Neste, the world’s leading SAF producer based in Finland, to procure SAF from Neste’s Singapore refinery.”
Ramping up Robotics
Kenichi Yoshida, Chief Business Officer, SoftBank Robotics Group Corporation:
Whiz’s smart AI cleaning robot integrating with IoT devices to deliver real-time data on indoor air quality and with IoT’s analytical dashboard, is part of SoftBank Robotics’ overall roadmap to implement an IoT system onto a unified smart facility management platform.
In a recent Singaporeans’ survey (1000 respondents) conducted with Milieu, we found that 83% find office cleanliness more important than before and 84% are open to seeing robots cleaning their offices. 74% of the respondents are interested in cleanliness statistics especially in indoor air quality. We see the future trends of cleaning robots with IOT integration to deliver on-demand cleaning.