The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) says that Japanese companies are still eager to explore and expand trade opportunities in Nigeria in spite of economic recession in the country.

Mr Taku Miyazaki, Trade Commissioner of JETRO, disclosed this in a statement to newsmen in Lagos on Saturday.

JETRO is a Japanese government-related body that promotes trade and investment between Japan and other nations.

Miyazaki noted that the import from Japan to Nigeria in 2015 was 358.7 million Dollars while export was 2,829 million Dollars.

He said that the trade volume between Nigeria and Japan decreased significantly in 2015 due to forex scarcity and lower price of natural gas.

“Although, Nigeria is in the midst of a severe economic recession, many Japanese companies are still eager to tap into this attractive market to expand their business.

“About 28 Japanese exhibitors are presently showcasing their products and technologies within the Japan Pavilion at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair.

“Their durable products, developed with highly advanced technology can eventually give customers cost-saving merit as well.” Miyazaki said.

According to him, there has been an increasing trend of manufacturing among Japanese companies in Nigeria in the past years.

“Some of the exhibitors are not only selling their products but also producing here in Nigeria. CFAO Yamaha Motor Nigeria started assembling its motorcycles in Lagos last year.

“Olam Sanyo Foods, a joint venture of Japanese Sanyo Foods and Olam International in Singapore, is also producing instant noodles “Cherie” and “Mama Gold” in Lagos.

“Panasonic and Suzuki Motor have Nigerian partners to assemble their products locally and West African Seasoning has a long history of packing and selling “Ajinomoto” in this country.

“These companies are not just making and selling their products in Nigeria. They create jobs, educate staff, transfer technology and share values of Japanese craftsmanship.” he said.

The commissioner noted that Canon Nigeria Imaging Solutions recently established an office in Lagos to expand its business network in Nigeria.

Miyazaki quoted Mr Roman Troedthandl, Managing Director, Canon Central and North Africa, saying, “we came here to make a long term commitment to the Nigerian market.

“Although, Nigerian economy is now in a tough time, we are quite optimistic about the future business outlook and ready to serve Nigerian citizens’ quality of life with our cutting-edge products.”

Miyazaki said that the benefits of the Japanese companies presence in Nigeria would enhance industrial development, boost trade volume and contribute to the government’s diversification agenda.

“I hope more of Japanese companies come into this promising market. I also hope Nigerian government will make maximum effort to improve the business environment to attract these Japanese and other investors.” Miyazaki said.