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Japan to set up initiative to help small firms enter ASEAN markets

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 12:28pm
The Associated Press

Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Asian stock markets except Japan were in the red Thursday amid jitters over new signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it may cut monetary stimulus sooner than expected. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)TOKYO, Dec. 6 (Kyodo) — The government will set up a public-private initiative to support small and medium-sized businesses expand into Association of Southeast Asian Nations markets, a Japan-ASEAN diplomatic source said Friday.

The launch of the initiative, at a time Japan is seeking to counter China's growing presence in the ASEAN region, is expected to be agreed during a special Japan-ASEAN summit in Tokyo from next Friday, the source said.

The initiative is aimed at encouraging local governments in Japan to facilitate the overseas expansion of smaller domestic businesses into the Southeast Asian region, the source said.

The initiative will be directed by a council composed of representatives from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, local governments and groups that support small and medium-sized companies.

Under the project, Japanese small and medium-sized companies will cooperate with ASEAN counterparts to create new products based on local demand, the source said.

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