The annual meeting of the South-East Asia Economic Conference opens in Kuala Lumpur next Monday.?
The annual meeting of the South-East Asia Economic Conference opens in Kuala Lumpur next Monday. Ministers will discuss the financial situation in South-East Asia, especially Japan's economic stake.
Japan's economic interests overseas now embrace practically every part of the world - particularly in the Far East and South-East Asia. Singapore is a typical example.
Nearly 30 years ago it was invaded by the Japanese and occupied by for three years. Now the Japanese have returned - this time as businessmen and investors.
The memorial to those who died during the Japanese occupation is today over-shadowed by signs proclaiming Japan's economic rather than military supremacy.
Singapore harbour is crowded with ships from Japan. Last year exports from Japan to Singapore soared by 30 percent compared with the previous year. Much of the goods are re-exported to Indonesia.
The remainder can be found on the roads and in shop windows. Such is the influx of Japanese products that Singaporeans - like other Asians - can find themselves leading lives as Japanese as families in Tokyo or Osaka. Women can make up with Japanese cosmetics and their husbands can have their account at a branch of tokyo bank.
A tyre factory, an oil refinery and a shipyard are examples of Japanese investment in Singapore, but - as is the case elsewhere - it is nowhere near the scale of Japanese exports.
This has led some people to denounce the Japanese as economic imperialists who take too much and give too little in return. Now the Japanese Government are trying to balance the situation by revitalising its already effective foreign aid programme.