Japan looks to SWFs in bid to attract investment

2 September 2008

Japan's government is to encourage Middle East-based Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) to invest in the country's corporations and infrastructure, Bloomberg reports.

It is thought that the authorities have set a target of $927 million to be injected into the economy by the state-backed investment vehicles, which include the Saudi Arabian Investment Company.

Meetings between the government officials representatives of the SWFs are to take place later this year, when trade ministry officials take a six-day trip to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Currently, the US attracts four times the amount of foreign investment as Japan.

In fact, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has released figures showing that the east Asian nation ranked last among the major world economies as a recipient of foreign funds for the years between 1997 and 2006.

Speaking to the news agency, HSBC director of equity sales Nicholas Smith commented: "Middle Eastern funds tend to be most interested in infrastructure, construction and renewable energy investments.

"It is not specifically oil money that they are after; any money will do."

Japan's economy shrunk by 2.4 per cent over the last quarter, the highest annualised figure for seven years.

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