Japan expresses interest in investment in Indonesia's outer islands and new capital

Indonesia to summon Chinese ambassador over maritime standoff in Natuna Sea
ndonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi makes a statement at the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta, Indonesia March 21, 2016. Indonesia protested on Monday against what it described as an infringement of its waters by a Chinese coast guard vessel near a disputed area of the South China Sea at the weekend, the foreign minister in Jakarta said Reuters

On Friday (January 10), Japan's Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu visited Indonesia, his first foreign visit since his appointment on September 11, 2019. Besides meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, Toshimitsu also met with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Luhut Panjaitan, and attended an event in the ASEAN Secretariat.

The Indonesian government has asked Japan to continue to develop Indonesia's outermost islands, as Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said. However, she did not confirm the investment value and forms of cooperation with Japan in developing Indonesia's outer islands.

Japan's investment in Natuna Island

The Natuna waters in Riau Island near the disputed South China Sea (SCS) has caught public attention following Chinese vessels' presence in Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), prompting Indonesia to deploy more warships and fighter jets in the area and summon the Chinese ambassador.

Marsudi confirmed that Japan's investment in Natuna has nothing to do with the most recent Indonesia-China spat in the rich waters. Chinese vessels finally left the Natuna following Jokowi's visit.

Japan has been involved in the first phase of the development of integrated maritime affairs and fisheries center (SKPT) in Natuna. Jokowi hopes Japan will intensify its investment in the Natuna.

"This is an issue that has been discussed for a long time. The President reiterated this because he just returned from Natuna, and his message is that the development of fisheries in the Natuna should continue to be strengthened," Retno stated as The Jakarta Post quoted.

The SKPT includes developments of ports, fishermen's housing, cold storage, fish market, and other supporting facilities for the fishery industry. Such a facility is expected to fulfill fishermen's need for fuel to boost this sector. The SKPT is now available in the Natuna's southern part, the Selat Lampa SKPT, as Katadata reported.

Toshimitsu told Marsudi that Japan will commence the port development and fish market projects in Indonesia's outer islands in February 2020, liputan6 reported.

Investment in Indonesia's new capital

Besides meeting Toshimitshu, Jokowi also met Softbank delegates led by the company's CEO Masayoshi Son. Softbank is a Japan-based telecommunication and media firm. Both discussed the firm's plan to invest in Indonesia's upcoming capital in East Kalimantan.

"The new capital offers a lot of investment opportunities and I think we can discuss the potential ideas," Son said as Tempo quoted.

Panjaitan claimed that Softbank is interested in disbursing its investment for the development of the upcoming capital in East Kalimantan worth $ 100 billion ( equal to Rp 1.400 trillion), as Tempo quoted.

This article was first published on January 12, 2020