Hideo Yamazaki: Investors shy away from unstable region

By Dubravka Blagojevic

Sarajevo – The Japanese Ambassador to BiH, Hideo Yamazaki, warns that BiH is politically unstable, because of which Japanese investors are not interested in it.

“The Japanese Government invests in BiH, however, when it comes to private companies, they want first and foremost political stability in order to begin investing. But this is a big problem in BiH,” Yamazaki told SRNA.

Japan plans this year alone to invest about KM 8 million in various projects. Yamazaki says that all the donations made thus far were intended to be of benefit to ordinary people, not politicians.

“I have met many ordinary people, people honest and hard working, but I have serious doubts in the work of the politicians. It is Japan’s policy to maintain the same course and continue supporting ordinary people and their needs,” says the Ambassador.

He says that Japan’s policy is to be present throughout BiH.

“You have here other representatives of the diplomatic corps, who mostly focus on one particular ethnic group, such as the Turks vis-à-vis the Bosniaks and the Russians vis-à-vis, the Serbs,” Yamazaki explained.

He says that Japan has no vital interest in the matter, unlike Russia and Turkey, for example, so that Tokyo equally supports Republika Srpska and the FBiH.

Japan will continue helping BiH, says the Ambassador, noting as an example the participation of wineries from the Herzegovina in the Asia Food Fair, where they concluded contracts for 7,200 bottles of wine for Japan.

Yamazaki stressed that his Embassy is expending great efforts to see trade between Japan and BiH increase.

“However, the Japanese Government cannot order Japanese companies to begin investing here. That depends on their assessment of the present political situation,” notes the Ambassador.

Yamazaki tells BiH politicians to ask themselves why there are so many respectable Japanese companies in the surrounding countries that are not coming to BiH.

“Croatia also had a war, but that country has managed to change its image and draw investors. 150,000 Japanese tourists visit Croatia each year, while only 3,000 to 4,000 come to BiH,” he notes.

The Ambassador says that Japan supports BiH’s accession to the EU and NATO. “The politicians should maintain that course, but it is going very slowly because of the lack of political will,” says Yamazaki.

Ambassador Yamazaki concluded the interview by noting that the problems of BiH can be solved by political compromise. (SRNA)