DELHI: With the extension of nationwide lockdown due to the rising number of positive cases of Coronavirus in India, the economy has disrupted poorly. Meanwhile, Japan has asked India to allow Japanese companies to restart their operations. Motegi Toshimitsu, the Japanese foreign minister made the request to the Indian Government through a telephonic conversation with S. Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister of India.

The press release by the Foreign Ministry of Japan presents the priorities of the Tokyo based government.

With the presence of around 1,500 Japanese firms in India, the statement said ” He also requested cooperation for the resumption of activities by Japanese companies in India.” 

The Centre has however not issued a readout of the phone call, but the External Minister of  India tweeted that their discussion “also dwelled on economic recovery challenges including supply chain resilience”.

A senior official of the Indian Govt stated that New Delhi values the contribution of Japanese companies in India. “We understand there have been some disruptions. We are working with the companies to address their concerns. As we go into post lockdown gradually depending on the COVID-19 situation, solutions to their issues will be found,” he said.

In a bid to slow down the spread of COVID-19 virus, India has been under a complete lockdown from March 25, which had led to a near-standstill in economic activity, especially in non-essential areas.

The economic activities in the country have been relaxed slightly with the third phase of extended lockdown. But most companies are still facing immense challenges in operation of manufacturing and export-oriented units.

This is not the first time that Japan has expressed concern about India’s restrictions related to coronavirus pandemic.

In early March, Japan had issued a demarche to India asking it to  review its decision to cancel e-visas to all Japanese nationals. In the early days of the pandemic, India had cancelled validities of visas of Japan, together with Iran, Italy and South Korea.

Earlier, Japan had told India that the complete ban on visas would hurt economic engagement, including work on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail.

Japan is also involved in the development of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor with 12 industrial townships and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC).