From Left: Japan External Trade Organisation Deputy Trade Commissioner, Chiharu Yamamura, Trade Commissioner Managing Director Taku Miyazaki and Administrative Officer Folashade Odebode during the press briefing in Lagos

Mary Ekah

As Nigeria sees the sign of recovery from the economic recession, many of Japanese companies are keen to enter and expand their businesses in the biggest market of African continent. To this end, about 33 Japanese companies will be showcasing their products at the Japanese pavilion during the forthcoming International Trade Fair in Lagos, Nigeria, which will be opening from Friday, November 3.

The Japan pavilion put together by Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), a Japanese government-related body which promotes trade and investment between Japan and other nations, is its fourth year of participation since 2014. Within the pavilion, which is one of the biggest at the fair, Japanese firms and their local distributors with 33 Japanese brands are showcasing their products and technologies to Nigerian business persons and citizens through the 10 days event. Among other exhibitors are; Canon Central and North Africa, Brother International, CFAO Yamaha Motor Nigeria, Suzuki Motor, Koncept Autocentre (partner of Isuzu Motors), Massilia Motors (partner of Mitsubishi Motors), SIMS Nigeria (partner of Panasonic Marketing and Services Nigeria), R.T. Briscoe Nigeria (distributor of Toyota’s trucks, forklifts, others), and so on.

Small and medium-sized enterprises producing high-quality products and companies with new type of business are also participating in the Japan pavilion and also Heiwa Foods Industry is bringing their “Japanese Curry” to Nigerians’ dinner tables, together with their Nigerian partner, Green Diamond. Cooking recipe sharing social media “cookpad”, which is one of the most popular cooking websites among Japanese people. The company, which launched its Nigerian page in March is eager to promote at the trade fair to fascinate the huge population of Nigeria. Honda and Suntory amongst several exhibitors are manufacturing their products in Nigeria. For example, CFAO Yamaha Motor Nigeria has been assembling its motorcycles in Lagos since 2015. Panasonic and Suzuki Motor have Nigerian partners to assemble their products locally. In the food industry, Olam Sanyo Foods, a joint venture of Japanese Sanyo Foods and Olam International in Singapore, is also producing instant noodles “Cherie”, “Mama Gold” and “Fresh Yo” yoghurt in Lagos. And West African Seasoning has its long history of packing and selling “Ajinomoto” in this country.

Taku Miyazaki, Trade Commissioner and Managing Director of JETRO Lagos, said Suntory Food and Beverage Nigeria is one of the four new Japanese companies, which is bringing their locally produced soft drinks “Lucozade” and “Ribena” to the Japan Pavilion at the trade fair. These, he said, will, “create jobs, educate staff, transfer technology and share values of Japanese craftsmanship, which is the key agenda of the federal government and its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”, Miyazaki said, emphasising their contribution to the development of the Nigerian industry.