Jamaica has to curtail crime to attract investment – Japanese envoy

(Jamaica Observer) Jamaica will find it difficult to attract direct investments from Japan if the island fails to curtail its crime problem, says Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Yamaguchi.

According to Yamaguchi, theft and security are two major factors considered by Japanese companies when looking for possible overseas investments. And despite Jamaica’s improvements on security, Yagamuchi said the country has still not alleviated crime to adequate levels.

“I must emphasize here that Japan’s investors will not consider investments wherever they think they are in danger of safety and security,” said Yamaguchi at the Mayberry Investment Forum at Knutsford Court Hotel on Wednesday.

He added: “They always compare the safety situation of potential investment candidate countries with that of their homeland, where they have been enjoying one of the safest business climates in the world.”

Yamaguchi explained that removing the security threat will help local companies and overseas investors, as it will reduce their overall cost of production and increase their competitiveness.

His comments coincide with a spike in crime that has gripped Jamaica, with police year-to-date statistics showing that homicides are up by 20 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year.

What’s worse is that foreign direct investments (FDIs) inflows to Jamaica declined by over 60 per cent to US$201 million in 2010, hitting a 14-year low.

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