Bridges: What is the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Singapore doing to strengthen Japan – Singapore relations?
Baba: JCCI Singapore was founded in 1969 with 56 Japanese companies and has since grown to approximately 800 members, contributing to the economic development of both Japan and Singapore. It has become the third largest overseas Japanese business community in the ASEAN region, following Thailand and Vietnam.
Our mission statement this year is “Strong, Proud, and Showcasing Japan!” Both JCCI and myself will participate in various events, collaborating with the Japanese communities here, including the Japanese Embassy, Japanese Association, and JETRO. Through every opportunity, we will showcase Japan’s resilience and presence. Furthermore, we will engage in activities that contribute to Singaporean society and further deepen the bonds with the people of Singapore.
What have been some of your positive personal experiences working and living in Singapore?
I am surprised at the convenience of the payment systems of Singapore Banks, such as PayNow, PayWave, and PayLah. These payment systems can be used not only on shopping but also on many mobile applications for different transactions. Nowadays I seldom carry my wallet when I go out shopping or dining. That is why I get frustrated every time I visit Japan. I think Japan’s payment systems are behind Singapore’s.
With ASEAN Day taking place, what do you feel Singapore’s future role will be facilitating connections across the region?
Looking back at the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, it is remarkable to see the Singaporean government demonstrate strong leadership by swiftly opening its borders and restoring international travel, thereby further enhancing its hub function within ASEAN. In today’s world characterized by increasing political and economic uncertainties, we have observed the proactive and clear diplomatic stance of the Singaporean government. I believe that Singapore’s flexible and resilient role will be increasingly anticipated.
What message do you have for our readers regarding the future work of the Chamber?
I heard some people say the JCCI Singapore is somewhat beyond their reach, however, this is not the case. We invite companies and individuals to join JCCI and utilize its services and it remains our greatest pleasure to support our members and their businesses.