On Wednesday, the Free Zones Authority and JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) formalized a Memorandum of Cooperation, signaling a commitment to enhance investment opportunities between Japan and Macedonia. The Japanese delegation, led by Takehiko Matsuo, the Director General of the Trade Policy Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, included Tatsuo Kamino, the General Director of JETRO Vienna, and representatives from 11 Japanese companies.

Over the next three days, the delegation plans to engage with undergraduates from the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, collaborate with companies sponsored by the national Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, and connect with members of the local business community.

Highlighting a key aspect of the Memorandum, Jovan Despotovski, the head of the Free Zones Authority, mentioned the potential collaboration between Macedonian and Japanese companies on reconstruction projects in Ukraine. He expressed optimism about Japanese banks financing these projects post-conflict.

Despotovski emphasized that discussions between Japanese business community representatives and local entrepreneurs would focus on leveraging their collective experience and proximity to markets to secure a role in the post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

The Memorandum aims to foster stronger ties between Macedonian and Japanese companies, streamlining the entry of Japanese businesses into North Macedonia. JETRO Vienna’s director, Tatsuo Kamino, highlighted the objective of the visit – to familiarize Japanese companies with the business environment and culture in Macedonia and facilitate meaningful connections with local enterprises.

Kamino underscored JETRO’s ongoing efforts in building business connections, particularly in the realm of innovations. He expressed hope that the visit would establish closer relationships between Japanese companies and startup ventures in Macedonia, emphasizing the potential for collaboration in innovative fields.

This visit marks JETRO’s second to Macedonia, building on their initial visit in 2019. The signing of the Memorandum holds additional significance, commemorating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Macedonia.