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Japanese firm uses UK as springboard

A JAPANESE consultant specialising in overseas development projects in South East Asia is setting up a UK division to boost its markets in the developing world.

Japanese owned Nippon Koei UK hopes to extend into Africa, South America, Central Asia and Eastern Europe working from a base in Reading.

The move anticipates action by the Japanese government to stop awarding all the work on its £6.2bn annual overseas aid programme exclusively to Japanese companies.

Under current rules development projects resulting from Japanese aid must be carried out by Japanese companies with at least 50% of the work done by Japanese nationals.

Ex-Gibb vice chairman Mike Hart, who is heading up the new firm, said: 'The Japanese government is being lobbied very hard to untie its aid because the current rules do not necessarily give value for money. We think it is quite likely to happen. The UK will be a good location logistically.'

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