Thailand focuses on industry, investment and innovation

Foreign investors are upbeat regarding Thailand’s economic outlook. With a desire to improve the country’s competitiveness, the Thai government’s planned megaprojects and Industry 4.0 (technology in industry) initiatives are creating new investment-driven business opportunities. For Japanese investors, the Thai economy is showing promising growth prospects.

“The Thai economy has been expanding at around three to four percent,” said Pakorn Peetathawatchai, president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). “Our economic stability remains strong with low inflation, low unemployment, moderate public debt and ample international reserves. To expand our potential investment further, efforts have been made to innovate our industries and logistics infrastructures with new airports, seaports, railways, motorways and mass transit systems being built. The Eastern Economic Corridor in eastern Thailand is designated to be the home of new industries such as advanced automotive, smart electronics and aviation. The SET collaborates with various exchanges on best practices and the promotion of cross-border investment.”

Government to government

“The relationship between Thailand and Japan is very strong,” said Shiro Sadoshima, ambassador of Japan to Thailand. “We are working to strengthen the ties between our two countries and we see huge opportunities to build on the foundations that have been established over the years. The genuine and caring people of Thailand embrace Japanese culture, society and cuisine and Japanese people reciprocate this interest in Thailand and the Thai people.”


“Both countries have a strong interest in further developing their tourism industries and working closer together to increase two-way tourism traffic. The number of Thai tourists to Japan in 2018 (1.13 million) has increased almost four times since Japan relaxed its visa requirements in 2013,” he said.

Thailand’s 2019 ASEAN chairmanship

“With Thailand holding the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) chairmanship this year, 2019 brings great importance and opportunities for the country. Leaders from across ASEAN are coming to Thailand to discuss the future of the association and the regional economy. As friendly nations with strong economic ties, we need to do more together for the development of both our people and economies. We look forward to working with our Thai partners as we strengthen our relationship.”

Strong foundations

The Japan Foundation, Bangkok, fosters cultural and friendship ties between Japan and Thailand. The nonprofit provides a diverse range of cultural activities covering art, culture and society, in addition to holding events that support Japanese culture in Thailand. The foundation also provides exchange programs and global opportunities that cultivate culture, language and dialogue through three divisions:

  • Arts and cultural exchange. Projects promoting cultural exchange between Thai and Japanese individuals are provided with opportunities for people to co-create art, music, drama, dance and film projects.
  • Japanese studies and intellectual exchange. Individual Thai scholars are encouraged to deepen their dialogue and networks with experts from Japan with the aim of solving current and rising global issues such as aging societies and natural disasters through symposiums and collaborative projects.
  • Japanese-language education. Every year the Japan Foundation, Bangkok, dispatches 85 Japanese teaching assistants (Nihongo partners) to public / junior and senior high schools in Thailand and offers training to Thai Japanese-language teachers.

“This year, we will continue to strengthen learning, support and understanding between Japan and Thailand through Asian cultural exchanges, including the WA Project: Toward Interactive Asia through Fusion and Harmony,” said Norihiko Yoshioka the director general of the Japan Foundation, Bangkok. “Japan and Thailand have a healthy relationship with strong economic ties and there is huge potential to learn from one another and enhance and develop our cultural connections.”

Five Fast Facts:

  • The population of Japan is almost double that of Thailand (the population of Thailand is approximately 70 million while the population of Japan is about 130 million).
  • One-tenth of the entire population of Thailand lives in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city.
  • Over 73,000 Japanese expats are currently living in Thailand.
  • Japan remains the leading foreign direct investor in Thailand (approximately 40 percent).
  • This year sees the Japan Foundation, Bangkok celebrate 45 years.

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