Japan has shown itself amenable to supporting beneficiation in South Africa and increasing its automotive parts production base here, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Davies said talks at the recent Tokyo international conference on African development in Yokohama, Japan, had confirmed that the Asian nation was increasingly interested in expanding into Africa and using South Africa as a springboard. A near-completed study on economic co-operation between Japan and South Africa had delivered proposals for projects that would improve skills and competitiveness in the local component production sector, the minister said. Preliminary findings prepared for the conference included deploying Japanese master trainers to South Africa and establishing a component and supplier park near Toyota’s factory in Durban. The objective was “to incentivise investment towards higher local content” of assembled cars. Co-operation in the automotive field could also boost beneficiation of steel and aluminium to make car parts. Japanese fuel-cell technology could further add to local mineral beneficiation, the study suggested. It also found that there was considerable scope for investments by Japanese companies in agro-processing and increased exports to Japan of fruit, meat, wine and tea, notably organic rooibos.