Malaysia’s Indirect Role for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

With Tokyo being the host for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, global audiences went ecstatic, especially with the brief yet creative presentation by the Japanese during the closing ceremony at Rio 2016. It was loved by all, mainly because Japan had its very own pop culture to leverage on. With famous characters from Japanese manga, anime and video games come to life, Japan managed to make everyone feel relevant, connected and evoked some childhood memories. Who wouldn’t want flock to Tokyo for the Olympics? And they expect a lot of people to come, not just athletes of the games. Tourist and spectators are very much welcome in Japan for the illustrious event, and they want to make sure that everything is covered for everyone.

A few years ago, the country started seeing Muslim travellers from Southeast Asian countries taking off, nearly 271,000 Indonesians travelled to Japan in 2016 and more than 394,000 Malaysians arrived last year. Now, similar interest in Japan from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries are growing. Furthermore, the total number of tourist arrivals in Japan in 2016 surpassed 24 million, well ahead of the 20 million targets set by the national government for 2020. (Source: The Star Online)

It is evident that Japan has a rise in Muslim tourists and they would like to cater to this growing demand, especially in terms of food, accommodation and services. Malaysia aims to be a global Halal hub by 2020 with the country having a comprehensive ecosystem for the Halal industry development agenda. This includes halal certification systems, standards and regulations, infrastructure, incentives, human capital and Islamic banking that are supported by an effective framework from governmental institutions.

While Japan is looking forward to Malaysia’s expertise of said industry, the good relationship between the two countries makes it more effortless and straightforward to form new collaboration and strengthen old ones. After all, Japan is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner in 2016.

Interestingly, representatives from both countries believe that by working together, they can develop their economy to greater lengths. Japan plans to expand their Halal businesses to Europe while Malaysia views Japan as the toughest market to penetrate but holds the key to an abundance of opportunities once successfully gain access to.