Chief Executive officer Mitsui Tatsuo Yasunaga: the chances of success in Russia

During the Russian-Japanese summit, which took place at the end of last year, Japan at governmental and private level, has prepared a plan of economic cooperation for a total amount of 300 billion yen. However, progress on the problem of “Northern territories” virtually none. The Russian government about this issue cool. Mitsui takes an active role: signed the Memorandum of intentions to create in Russia a pharmacological company and share capital. Is there any chances of success in Russia against the background of increasing uncertainty in the world economy? We talked about it with Director Tatsuo Yasunaga.

Itsuro, Fujino: What can you say about the projects in Russia?

Tatsuo Yasunaga: We have invested in the Russian market of 100 billion yen. We are proud that it is one of the most significant figures among Japanese companies. In addition to the project for LNG production “Sakhalin-2” we also invest in companies that sell cars and construction equipment. Along with natural resources in Russia, with a population of 150 million people, there is a wealth of consumer market. For the development of natural resources, huge capital, but if you pay attention to the allocation of capital across Russia, the risks are not so great. The Russian government wants to change the economic structure dependent on natural resources. Also there is a demand for the modernization of outdated infrastructure, power plant and so on. We will provide advanced technology and equipment. In addition, there are small-scale investments in the field of medicine and food. In terms of natural resources, we give priority to increasing the production capacity of the project “Sakhalin-2”.

— Are you concerned about the attitude of the West, which does not cancel the economic sanctions against Russia?

— Western companies relate to Russian projects seriously: the French company Total, is developing the LNG project in the Arctic with Russia’s largest gas company. They have strong relations with Russia; they have invested a lot of money in plants and equipment. In the international forum, organized by the government of Russia, attended an American food company Cargill. She demanded to improve the investment climate. Earlier, the Russian business is considered to be their partners for the European company. To cooperate with Japan he treated with caution. Our company operates in areas that are not subject to sanctions: daily demand and infrastructure. Russia can not be called exceptional. Elite trained in the West, language problems in business arise.

— How do you feel about Donald Trump, who will become the new President of the United States?

— On the one hand, it is called a conservative, and on the other, he strived to upgrade its industrial structure. He perceives the US as a market. This market are companies that produce shale oil and gas. We are discussing additional investments in such fields as chemicals, LNG bases and so on. Promising are such sectors as leasing of trucks and the establishment of institutions for the elderly. If the United States will become overly conservative, this will negatively affect trade and development of developing countries, which will affect the demand for natural resources. Nevertheless, the United States most of all enjoy the fruits of globalization. I think they will not go to extremes. Russian-American relations will not become worse. In order not to lag behind American and European companies, Japanese companies need to think about the development of the Russian market.

Tatsuo Yasunaga graduated from Tokyo University in 1983 and began working in the company Mitsui. Headed car and ship direction. In 2015, he became the Executive Director. Participated in the development of the project “Sakhalin-2”. Born in the Prefecture of Ehime. Age: 56 years.

Mitsui specializiruetsya on the development of natural resources and the development of infrastructure in emerging countries. She recently signed seven memorandums of intent with such major Russian companies as “Gazprom”, “RusHydro” and “Rusagro”. Mitsui has influence on the Russian market.

The experts say that this company has little to no experience in areas that are not related to energy. This contrasts with Itochu, which has been successful in areas such as tissue, food and so on. For infrastructure projects required experience and profitability.