Established in 1970, Jakarta Japan Club is the largest Japanese community in Indonesia which serves not only as a community association but also as a chamber of commerce with the aim of improving and nurturing trade relations between Japanese companies and Indonesian government and society.
With this purpose in mind, Jakarta Japan Club is actively organizing various events to reinforce the bond between each member, also to widen their business networking. “Jakarta Japan Club mainly has two functions; as a club to enhance communication, friendship and networking among the Japanese as well as Indonesians and as a chamber of commerce and industry to develop the trade and industry between the two countries,” explains Mr. Susumu Yoshida, Secretary General of Jakarta Japan Club, who admits to enjoy his time in Indonesia since his first appointment in 2013.
As a membership organization, Jakarta Japan Club accommodate over 3,300 individual members and represents the interest of approximately 650 corporate member companies. The club plays a key role in strengthening the Japan-Indonesian relationship by providing business support services, maintaining business and social network as well as representing their corporate members’ interests. “Japanese investment in Indonesia is quite promising and has been increasing over the past few years. According to the survey conducted by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) last year, Japanese manufacturing industry still shows their big interest in investing in Indonesia as this country seems very strategic for business development,” he adds.
Jakarta Japan Club works very closely with the embassy in order to establish better relations with Indonesian Government as well as citizens, which makes it easier for the club to assist each member, especially to advocate them about Indonesia government policy and regulations. “Indonesia and Japan share the common interests as Japan is a strategic partner for Indonesia, so a mutual understanding between both parties is crucially important to keep the business harmonious.”
Although a business relation between the two countries has been established well since decades ago, there are a few obstacles along the way, particularly in terms of legal and administrative procedures. “Of course there are always challenges. For example, there was a sensitive issue about minimum wages two or three years ago. I believe this is a common problem for manufacturing due to the large number of employment. The obscurity of minimum wages determination caused many labour demonstrations. However, the current government seems to work hard to address this issue by setting out new regulations, so we’re quite happy with this improvement. The slow bureaucratic process also becomes our concern, but I believe it will get better in the future. As far as I know, the number of the Japanese business entities have been continuously growing since the earlier period of foreign investment in 1967, so I’m pretty sure that the partnership will get stronger in the future,” told Mr. Yoshida to us.
The size of this sector group in Jakarta Japan Club indicates that manufacturing and construction are still dominant industries among Japanese companies in Indonesia although there are still plenty of rooms for other industries, “Indonesia was ranked second after India on a list of promising countries for business development over medium term (based on JBIC 2015 survey), meaning this country is still interesting to the foreign investors.”
In addition to the business networking events and seminars, Jakarta Japan Club also offers a diverse range of cultural, recreational activities and amenities for Japanese residents in Greater Jakarta area to strengthen the kinship between each other to encourage a feeling of a home away from home, “Most Japanese people are happy to live in Jakarta. Here, we interact with many people from different backgrounds, so we are exposed to diverse cultures and habits which makes life feel more colourful. Unlike the Japanese work environment which is very serious, people in Jakarta tend to be more laid back and relaxed, so we arguably enjoy our time here very much,” Mr. Yoshida concluded.
To find out more about the Jakarta Japan Club activities, please visit www.jjc.or.id