September 10, 2017
THE exponential growth of Muslim travellers to Japan, particularly from Southeast Asia, over the last few years presents vast business opportunities and potential for Muslim-majority countries like Brunei Darussalam to tap into, said Mr Yokoyama Shinya yesterday during the Asia Japan Alumni (ASJA) – Asean Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) Symposium entitled ‘Asean-Japan trade opportunities – tapping into the Halal market’ held at Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong.
Shinya, a Japanese expert on the Halal industry in Japan and brainchild of Halal Media Japan – a Halal and Muslim-friendly information portal for Muslim travellers in Japan – highlighted that Brunei needs a strategic plan in order to compete with other markets in the sprawling industry and tap into new opportunities.
With an already strong footing and image in the Halal industry, Shinya said Brunei Darussalam needs to forge strong partnerships with local governments and also certification bodies in Japan as strategic partners to further advance its network and reach.
He was also of the view that Brunei, being a Muslim country readily equipped with all the much-needed facilities for Muslim travellers, also has the potential to become a leading Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) tourism destination for the Muslim market. Organising an International Halal Expo in Brunei Darussalam would also put Brunei on international Halal industry map, Shinya added, while “opening more opportunities for collaborations and attracting investors to Brunei”.
Meanwhile, Melline Jaini from Ghanim International Corporation also shared some of Brunei’s experiences in introducing and promoting quality Halal foods to the world.
The symposium, held in conjunction with the 23rd ASCOJA which is hosted by Brunei this year, aims to share experiences particularly from Brunei’s perspective in the development of its Halal industry, evaluate common challenges in the Halal industry from regulators, industry and investors’ perspective, and to explore potential areas of collaboration between Asean and Japan in the Halal industry.
Topics discussed by the various speakers during the symposium include Halal policies and certification; Halal market; Halal food and Halal non-food products in areas such as tourism, pharmaceutics and healthcare, cosmetics and personal care, apparel, and logistics and supply chain; case studies and best practices on regional/local Halal standards; and challenges and opportunities of the Halal market in Asean member countries and Japan.
The symposium is additionally hoped to “provide the platform to generate understanding and discussion on the possible way forward for Asean and Japan to contribute to the development of the Halal industry,” according to a press statement prepared by the Brunei Association of Japan Alumni (BAJA).
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