Croatian PM sees energy as possible turning point for Japan investments in Croatia

Croatian PM sees energy as possible turning point for Japan investments in Croatia

Japan has not invested a lot in Croatia so far, but the energy sector could be the turning point in that, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in Tokyo on Wednesday, after a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

"Croatia is a place of great opportunities, a small but stable country, well-regulated, well-maintained in which foreign investors can feel safe, protected and appreciated," Milanovic told a press conference which he held together with Abe, adding that it was his great pleasure to see an increasing number of Japanese tourists vacationing in Croatia.

Milanovic said Japan's presence in Croatia was insufficient, but that now, ahead of Brussels' decision on the planned investments in Croatia's energy sector, he was hoping for a more favourable outcome.

Croatia expects the energy sector to be a turning point when it comes to Japanese investors, according to a statement issued by the Croatian government's office.

Earlier today, Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak said that one of reasons for Milanovic's ongoing visit to Tokyo was the interest of Japanese investors in the construction of a new block within the power plant in the Istrian town of Plomin.

"We are open to Japanese investments in areas in which Japans is globally successful, for example in the aviation industry, in which we could be a good supplier to Japanese companies which have state of the art technologies. This is a form of a long-term cooperation and a process which we would like to realise," said Milanovic, who is also the first Croatian prime minister to officially visit Japan.

Abe said he respected Croatia for everything it has done to rebuild itself, for realising ethnic reconciliation after the Homeland Defence War and for joining the European Union two years ago.

Japan sees Croatia as an important partner with whom it shares fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, human rightd and the rule of law, Abe said adding that he and Milanovic had addressed three important topics.

The first topic was advancing bilateral relations, given that after Croatia's admission to the EU, the interest of Japanese companies in Croatia has increased.

The second topic was the importance of cooperation between Japan and the European Union and the third was international cooperation in achieving peace, stability and prosperity in the world.

We want to continue developing our bilateral relations, Abe said.

Japan continues to be one of the driving forces of the global economy and growth, Japan's economy has proved itself to be innovative and dexterous, under the leadership of PM Abe who is breaking certain stereotypes about Japan, its customs and Western interests, Milanovic said.

During his stay in Tokyo, Milanovic was also received by Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, and held talks with members of the Japanese-Croatia parliamentary friendship group, led by Sadakazu Tanigaki.

On Thursday, Milanovic is expected to hold talks with executives of the most prominent members of the Japan Business Federation and inform them about business opportunities in Croatia. The meeting will be attended by presidents and members of the management boards of about thirty Japanese companies, including Toshiba, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Shimazu, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Japan Airlines, Japan Tobacco and Marubeni.