TOKYO: Thailand’s biggest foreign investor, Japan, said Friday it would offer support to its firms in the kingdom as concerns grow that the death of its revered monarch could derail the economy.
Japan has more than 4,000 companies operating in Thailand, dubbed the “Detroit of Southeast Asia” due to the huge number of auto manufacturing plants.
“The government will offer appropriate support to Japanese companies if necessary so that the impact on them would be kept to a minimum,” top Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a regular press briefing.
Concerns over the future of the country have been lingering with the ailing health of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has played a role of mediator at times of political turmoil during his seven-decade reign. Bhumibol,88, passed away on Thursday.
“Significant near-term disruption is likely,” John Marrett, research analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in a commentary. “(We are) expecting a slowdown in Thailand’s economy over the next 12 months.”
Meanwhile, Thai stocks that had plunged earlier this week rebounded sharply on Friday. Japanese auto giants Toyota and Honda said it would be business as usual for their factories in Thailand.