DAVAO CITY — Japanese Chamber of Commerce-Mindanao Vice-President Takeyoshi Sumikawa said many potential Mindanao investors from Japan are concerned about the prevailing martial law over the entire island and the absence of direct flights, particularly to and from Davao.

“Many Japanese companies are interested in Davao but we need more efforts to appeal the good points of Davao to Japanese people,” he said at a forum on Monday.

Martial law in Mindanao was first declared May 23, 2017 as the battle for Marawi City broke out, and remains in effect until the end of the year.

Mr. Sumikawa said it is more the big Japanese companies that are concerned about the security situation, while small and medium enterprises more ready to take on the risk of setting up shop here.

He cited a flower company based in Japan, which will be joining the Davao Investment Conference (Davao ICON) on June 20-21, which is now looking for a site in Mindanao to develop into a farm.

“Some flowers are very expensive so it is feasible to use air cargo to transport the flowers,” Mr. Sumikawa said.

“There are many possibilities. Connectivity is also the concern of Japanese businessmen in setting up a company in Mindanao,” he said.

Mr. Sumikawa, who came to Mindanao for the first time 13 years ago, said he is working closely with Arturo M. Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., for the establishment of direct flights between Davao and Japan.

He said the large companies that want to venture into Mindanao include construction firms, agriculture, and manufacturers of plastic and electronic parts. — Maya M. Padillo