Japanese business looking for opportunities in WA

A recent CCIWA roundtable with a Japanese delegation suggests significant opportunities for enhancing bilateral trade and investment.

Representatives from the City of Hitachi and Tokyo Gas Australia (TGA), a subsidiary of Japan’s largest gas company Tokyo Gas, expressed interest in increasing trade and investment with WA, including the WA Investments* platform, which is a showcase of investment-ready projects in the State.

The delegation showed particular interest in WA’s renewable energy and critical minerals sectors.

L-R: CCIWA’s Senior Economist Sam Collins and International Trade Consultant Julian Neuweiler, Tokyo Gas’ Hitachi branch General Manager Takemitsu Kikuchi, CCIWA’s Head of International Trade and Investment Centre Michael Carter, City of Hitachi’s Department of Industry and Economy Director Osamu Koyama and Manager of Industrial Location Advisory Division Yuuichirou Kamata, and Tokyo Gas Australia’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategic Officer Hiraku Endo.

“WA can play an important role in supporting Japan’s net zero goal, just as Japan has played an important part in growing our LNG industry for several decades,” says Michael Carter, Head of CCIWA’s International Trade and Investment Centre, who led the roundtable.

“Japan is our State’s second largest trading partner, with $39.7 billion of goods traded in 2022 and is ranked fourth (5.7% share) for the most combined foreign direct investment in Australia, valued at $257.4b in 2022.

“WA’s abundance of critical minerals and renewable energy resources, along with our skilled workforce, make our State a prime destination for trade and investment to support Japan’s green goals.”

The Japanese Government shares Australia’s net zero carbon emissions by 2050 target.

Japanese manufacturing hub seeking to boost trade

Hitachi is one of Japan’s key manufacturing hubs and similar to Perth, has many small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Hitachi’s economy is predominantly manufacturing, with a focus on technology and innovation. It produces a wide range of products including electronics, machinery and construction equipment. The city also has an important role in the country’s power generation.

Hitachi is home to many large multi-national companies and is the founding city of the well-known namesake company.

In recent years, Hitachi has been working to diversify its economy and promote new industries, such as information technology and biotechnology, and has several universities and research institutions, which foster the city’s innovation and entrepreneurship.

Decarbonisation business opportunities

TGA expressed strong interest in WA’s green energy and oil and gas industries.

“TGA is seeking new business opportunities to move into decarbonisation-related sectors to achieve carbon neutrality,” says Hiraku Endo, TGA’s Chief Strategic Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

“WA has great potential to expand decarbonisation initiatives across its vast landscape with strong community support, including renewable energy, carbon farming, and technology and innovation.”

Globally, TGA is exploring partnership and energy investments, particularly around carbon neutral LNG and e-methane (methane synthesised from non-fossil energy sources).

“In Australia, we are particularly drawn towards opportunities within the realms of nature-based carbon credits and CCS (carbon capture and storage), which could potentially heighten the expansion of carbon neutral LNG to offset CO2 emissions from LNG,” Endo says.

“Additionally, we’re exploring avenues around renewable energy and green hydrogen as potential sources for e-methane. We are open to discussions with any parties interested in these areas.”

Australian projects

TGA is undertaking joint research with Curtin University into microbubble technology. Developed and patented by TGA, the technology can potentially improve the efficiency of CO2 injection and enhance CO2 containment in the subsurface by converting it into micron-sized bubbles.

The company is also partnering on an environmental planting pilot project to generate Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) from tree planting under the WA Clean Energy Regulator scheme.

Endo says that the implementation of new technologies and the investment in new business models to support decarbonisation can involve high upfront costs. It can also be difficult to secure funding for innovative projects. However, he is optimistic that technological advancements and funding support will make investments in the space increasingly viable.

“Through technical cooperation, policy support and investment promotion, the Australian Government, industry and academia must work together to promote the rapid adoption of decarbonisation technologies to achieve a carbon-neutral society,” he says.

“We would like to work with local companies in Western Australia that specialise in decarbonisation technologies to help us achieve our goals.”

*WA Investments is a collaboration between CCIWA and Invest and Trade WA.

If you are looking for support or advice in business, investment or trade, contact our experienced International Trade and Investment Centre team at [email protected].





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