Mr Haruo Shimada, Economic Adviser to former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said it was shocking that India had to import wheat to feed people in spite of the country's 80 per cent landmass under agriculutre. This situation could be reversed by increasing agriculture production with the use of technology Japan could provide, the Japanese expert added. Mr Shimada was part of an 11-member delegation, which visited various parts of the country to explore opportunities for Japanese investments in India, particularly in the field of infrastructure, agriculture, energy, transport, tourism and education.
He said Mr Shimada, ''We feel that India can feed the world by increasing its agricultural production manifold.'' ''Japan has technology and India has manpower and vast land ...
this combination can even make India the world leader in agriculture,'' said Mr Shimada, who heads Fujitsu Research Institute, a think tank.
Talking to UNI, Mr Shimada, who is also president of Chiba University of Commerce, said it was shocking that one-third of foodgrain production in India went waste in the post-harvest.
Another Japanese expert, Yasuyo Yamazaki, suggested that India must exploit solar energy in a big way, adding with the help of its vast expanse and scorching sun, the country could tide over its energy crisis. With crude petroleum price going through the roof, Mr Yamazaki said; ''Solar energy is the answer,'' adding, Japan has viable technologies to help India exploit it.
The week-long extensive and intensive tour led them to places like Gujarat, (Mundra Port and Gandhinagar), Bihar (Vikramshila and Patna), Rajasthan (Udaipur) and Maharashtra.
The delegation returned to Tokyo yesterday.
The Japanese were full of praise for Gujarat with Mr Shimada saying if the state's infrastructure was upgraded it could emerge as the biggest logistic center for development of India.
Admitting that Japan's economy was witnessing a slow and critical phase , Mr Shimada said: ''The parnership in areas of mutual interests can be beneficial to both the countries.'' On Japan's presence in India which was not much in spite of age-old friendship between the two countries, Mr Shimada said it was unfortunate his country-- despite being the second biggest economic power in the world--did not invest much in India, a fast developing economy.
He identified steel another area of investment and said: ''The metal and energy are important for India's development.'' India, he said, should think of developing industrial, trade, agriculture and knowledge corridors to fast track its growth and added Japan would be a willing partner in its endeavour.
Mr Shimada said Japan has already taken the first step by becoming a partner in the 100 billion dollars Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project. He said once the project was completed it would augment India's industrial growth in a big way.
Besides, the over 1,400-km corridor would come up on either side of the dedicated railway freight cooridor between India's two metros. Social worker Vibhavkant Upadhayay, who is heading the India Center Foundation, had mooted the idea of the flagship project to strenghten ties between the two Asian countries.
Mr Upadhayay said the India Center Foundation had provided concept papers for setting up various corridors such as New Delhi-Kolkata Knowledge Corridor, Kolkata-Chennai Port Corridor and Bio-Diversity Corridor between Chennai and Mumbai.
Mr Yamazaki suggested India to take steps for inclusive growth to check social tension and cited the Japanese model of development for agriculture for rural prosperity. This model, he said, could be implemented in India for equitable growth. The highly fertile Gangatic belt in Bihar and West Bengal has the potential to transform India to make the country a big success story, he added.