THE Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is preparing its members for more foreign business matchings from Japan this year.

Following the Philippines’ commitment to forge strong alliances with Japan, MCCI president Glenn Anthony Soco saw an increase of Japanese business delegates who arrived in Cebu to explore trade opportunities.

The most recent was the business matching event between a business delegation from Yokohama, Japan and Cebu’s business community early this month.

“This just shows that Cebu is in the radar of foreign investors,” said Soco, adding that it is not only China that is beefing up its trade partnership with the Philippines. Aside from the Yokohama group, other Japanese business groups have expressed interest to visit Cebu in the next few months.

With heightened business activity that since the start of the new administration, Soco said they are preparing the chamber’s activities, especially in August to align with that of the investment programs of the government.

“With the flourishing B2B sessions with foreign business groups, we are more encouraged to make our activities more relevant, on the back of these foreign (business group’s) interest,” said Soco.

“Their reaching out to local investors already signals a ready market access for our products and services,” he added.

Soco said that aside from partnering with local investors, Japanese companies are looking for human resource suppliers to address Japan’s workforce shortage in the hospitality and health sectors. Some are also eyeing joint ventures in medical tourism in the country.

The state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan last year and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe early this year have strengthened the economic relations of both countries.