Japan, Singapore, and 70 years of post-war ties

Japan, Singapore, and 70 years of post-war ties

AS THE world prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in August, ties between Singapore and Japan are positive and mutually beneficial.

Among Singaporeans, aspects of Japanese culture have won favour, especially its food.

A poll last year by Borders Asia Market Insight and AsiaX found that Japanese food is the most popular foreign cuisine among Singaporeans.

And Japan ranks third, after Australia and New Zealand, when it comes to foreign countries that Singaporeans are interested to live in.

These good impressions flow from many decades of cooperation and cultural exchange, following the end of the war in 1945 and, with that, the end of Japan's occupation of Singapore, then a British colony.

In the 1970s, after Singapore became independent, Japan became its largest foreign investor and trading partner.

In 1980, the Singapore Government initiated a campaign to learn from Japan in terms of corporate management, labour practices and public security.

Company labour unions and koban, or neighbourhood police posts, were introduced to Singapore and became institutionalised.

In the 1990s, Japanese anime, comic books and TV dramas arrived in Singapore and became popular, as did sushi and even okonomiyaki, or Japanese savoury pancake.

In 2002, Singapore became the first country with which Japan signed an economic partnership agreement.

The two countries are now engaged in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP agreement, with 10 other countries, including the United States.

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