THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said two Japanese companies have expressed interest in investing over P7 billion to expand their operations in the Philippines.

In a briefing on Monday, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual identified the potential investors as electronics company MinebeaMitsumi, Inc. and tire and auto parts maker Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.

“Although it was not an investment mission, we anticipate, because they pitched it, an additional P7.4 billion of new investments,” Mr. Pascual said. “They expressed their intention to invest additional funds.”

MinebeaMitsumi operates in Batangas, Bataan, and Cebu, while Yokohama Rubber runs a tire plant in Clark Freeport.

Mr. Pascual was in Japan last week to attend the Philippine Economic Briefing in Tokyo, on the sidelines of which he, together with other cabinet secretaries, met with executives of eight Japanese firms.

The companies included Sojitz Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corp., MinebeaMitsumi, Yokohama Rubber, Taiheiyo Cement Corp., and Marubeni Corp.

According to Mr. Pascual, three of these companies have produced around P22.3 billion in investments stemming from commitments made during President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s visits to Japan.

In particular, he said Taiheiyo Cement has invested over P16 billion of its P21-billion investment pledge made during the President’s visit.

This includes a P11.7-billion manufacturing plant in Cebu, which Taiheiyo hopes to inaugurate next month.

Murata has also invested P7 billion of a P47 billion commitment in expanding a ceramic capacitor line in Batangas.

“Murata’s investment is important as they are expanding the production of multi-layer ceramic capacitors, which are very important to electronic products,” said Mr. Pascual.

“We also hope that with their expansion, they will also bring with them some of their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers so that they can complete their supply chain ecosystem here,” he added.

On the other hand, Sojitz has invested P3.6 billion, exceeding its P2.6 billion commitment. The investment, which was coursed through LBS Digital Infrastructure Corp., also created 700 direct jobs.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, and Marubeni also reaffirmed their investment pledges to the Philippines, Mr. Pascual said.

The President visited Japan twice last year, in February and December. During his visits, he was able to book P771.6 billion in investment commitments from Japanese firms, which are expected to create more than 40,000 jobs. — Justine Irish D. Tabile