KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral trade, investment and industrial ties.

The message was delivered during a meeting between International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura Yasutoshi here yesterday.

Japan has been one of Malaysia's top sources of foreign direct investment (FDIs), with total investments amounting to RM90.9 billion (US$27.6 billion) recorded for 2021, creating 337,280 jobs.

Japan was also the fourth largest trading partner for Malaysia in 2021, with total trade amounting to US$36.14 billion (RM149.76 billion).

The ministry said the one-hour maiden engagement covered key issues such as supply chain resiliency, embracing of the environment, social and governance (ESG) concept in investments and industry, as well as possible mutual collaborations in sectors such as the energy and aircraft industries.

The discussion also centred around economic cooperation in various free trade platforms such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

"Both ministers also discussed the convening of the Malaysia-Japan Public-Private Industrial Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur (2023) and reaffirmed their commitment to solidify collaboration in line with the elevation of Malaysia-Japan bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership earlier this year," it said.

On Malaysia's Look East Policy (LEP) which underscored the strengthening of the bilateral relationship over the past 40 years, Tengku Zafrul expressed his gratitude to Japan for its unrelenting support to Malaysia thus far, and reaffirmed the country's continued commitment to the LEP.

The ministry said Malaysia would continue to strategically work with Japan particularly in areas such as ESG, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, smart manufacturing and renewable energy.

On Asean-Japan relations, both ministers pledged continued engagement, particularly as the Asean-Japan Friendship and Cooperation approaches its 50th anniversary milestone in 2023.

With the launch of the New Investment Policy in October 2022, Tengku Zafrul emphasised the ministry's commitment in ensuring that Malaysia remains a preferred investment destination for all investors, including those from Japan.

"Recognising the vast opportunities to deepen trade and economic linkages, both ministers reaffirmed their commitment to build on the Malaysia-Japan bilateral ties' positive momentum, to further advance both countries' economic interests," it added.