All eyes should move to Japan as we babble about diversifying the economy which relies, majorly, on oil. Technology plays a major role in industrialization, gateway to development Without taking anything away from our traditional allies in the West and our new found partners, China, I am convinced we have a lot in common with the Japanese and have not exploited this to our advantage. What keeps them growing is their brain. They are not blessed with as many natural resources as Nigeria yet until 2010, they were the second largest economy in the world. Today, the Japanese are ranked one step below China and two below the United States. The Japanese External Trade Organisation [JETRO] is putting up a big show at the Lagos Trade Fair which opened yesterday. The Asians want to do real business with Nigeria. Leadership and knock-on effect of US shale According to JETRO Managing Director, Shigeyo Nishizawa, “ Nigerian import from Japan in 2017 slightly decreased by 1.6% to USD 320.8 million from2016 while export to Japan decreased by 7.5 %. “Trade declined between both countries from 2015 to 2017 due to decreased natural gas import, slim harvest of sesame seeds and weak demand for some goods.” Both countries need to do more for their citizens since they have so much in common. The name, Shinzo Abe, sounds Nigerian. He is the Prime Minister of Japan. His Deputy, Taro Aso, bears the name of Nigeria’s Presidential Palace, Aso Villa. Abe, ruled as Prime Minister and came back in 2012, just like President Muhammadu Buhari whose second time was in 2015. Deputy Prime Minister, Aso, is a Christian and was the 59th Prime Minister of Japan. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is also a Christian, and was a church minister. Abe’s wife, Akie Matsuzaki, is as outspoken as Mrs Aisha Buhari. She criticizes her husband publicly just like our First Lady. Japs call her, ‘Domestic Opposition Party.’ There are Nigerian place names and other names, in the land of the Rising Sun. Yokohama is known as Edo. There is a Prefecture, Ehime, which is the name of a Local Government Area in Imo State. In Yaba –Lagos, we have Iwaya. That is a part of Kobe. President Olusegun Obasanjo has his Library in Ibara, Abeokuta. There is Ibara in Hiroshima. The Ogori Magongo of Kogi will be surprised to find Ogori in Yamaguchi. The King of Auchi is called Otaru. That is the name of a town in Sapporo. Dogo is hausa for tall. It is also a small Island in the Sea of Japan. We had Alhaji Aminu Kano. There is a Japanese athlete, Akira Kano. The coach who took Japan to a first World Cup, France ’98, was Takeshi Okada. Ndidi Osaka retired from Radio Nigeria about a decade ago. Super Eagles played goalless with England in Osaka at the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup. Oguchi Onyewu debuted for the United States at Germany 2006. Oguchi is also in Nagoya, the university town where Dr. Andi Brisibe lectures, supported by his Japanese wife. Onwusoro debuts with message of hope for Nigeria I do not know if Bianca Ono has ever met late Beatles’ songwriter, John Lennon’s second wife, Yoko Ono. The latter’s dad bore the name, Isoko Ono. The present Japanese Defence minister is Takeshi Iwaya. In the past, Prime Minister Abe appointed Hiroko Ota as Economics and Fiscal Planning minister and Koji Omi, minister of Finance. The Federal Government should feel at home with Japan. JETRO started operating in Nigeria 63 years ago. Four new Japanese companies moved to our country in 2016. One more joined in 2017. Nigeria exports sand, gravel and sesame seed to Japan and imports automobiles, motor cycles, motor parts, electronics and more. That is not enough. We can do more in agriculture. Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State is doing well with rice production. I would like him to partner with the Japanese to improve quality and export. We could take over the ECOWAS regional market. I was in Oguchi in 2002, courtesy of the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Emmanuel Otiotio. We were guests at the International Rice Planning festival with some American diplomats. I was happy to see the ‘Chocho’ [Mayor] of Oguchi, Ei Sakai, in Nigerian attire. Ebonyi rice may not be exported to Japan, what is needed is more touch of technology. Talking of partnership, I believe this country deserves a Toyota Assembly plant. There are more Toyota users in Nigeria than in any other part of Africa. I do know that some of the brand new Toyota cars sold here are imported from South Africa. As the Federal Government tries to revive the rail system, we should also look towards Japan. They boast of one of the most efficient rail systems in the world. I enjoyed a ride in one of their bullet trains from Narita to Kobe. I think they call them ‘Shinkansen.’ Ex-Australian PM warns successor against Jerusalem We tried the Indians in the past, and now the Chinese. We can attract Japan to this venture. When the trains move again, our roads will face less pressure. All the precious time wasted will be saved. Japanese building contractors are also exceptional. I saw high rise homes made of wood because of earthquake. If we bring them here, there will be a lot to learn. The Minato Mirai in Yokohama where they have Queen’s Tower and Landmark Park can be replicated here. The equivalent of Alaba Electronics market, Lagos is found in Akihabara. There is another in Ueno, both in Tokyo. There is sense in inviting Panasonic, Toshiba and Sansui to set up production lines. This will create jobs for hundreds of Nigerians. The First Japanese Emperor, Jimmu Tenno, was said to be the great grandson of the sun goddess. The Yoruba say Oduduwa descended from the sky just like the Bini had Ogiso, sky kings. FG to pay N71bn outstanding counterpart fund to UBEC – Official Today, Nigerians shout praise the Lord and Allahu Akbar. Japs are into ‘shintoism,’ some don’t believe in God. They do away with corrupt leaders. Failures are not worshipped. While we praise God, our leaders can learn from Japan. I do not mind them committing ‘sapukku’ or hara-kiri [belly cutting] if they fail. That will be more honourable.