Kuwait's youth inspired by Japan's manufacturing innovation, entrepreneurship

By Miyoko Ishigami

OSAKA, Japan, May 25 (KUNA) — Young manufacturing professionals from Kuwait led by Dr. Souhaila Al-Muttawa, faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Kuwait University, visited a comprehensive support hub for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) manufacturers in western Japan to learn Japanese expertise.
The 11-member delegation, the first-ever Kuwait’s group to visit Monodzukuri (Innovative Manufacturing) Business Information-center Osaka (MOBIO) located in Higashiosaka City, was impressed by the latest technologies and products on display in its permanent exhibit.
“I am pleased to see so many innovative ideas being shared in this manufacturing cluster,” Tariq Al-Khonaini, a Kuwaiti manufacturing entrepreneur, told KUNA after the visit.
“This hands-on visit to Japan is a great learning experience for all involved, much more can be gained from this visit than any other type of training program or lectures,” said Meshari Al-Baqer, an engineer in Aqual Cool Water Co.
Osaka Prefecture hosts more than 41,000 factories, the largest number in Japan. Established by the Osaka prefectural government in 2009. MOBIO is an integrated support facility to promote innovation and industry partnerships among SMEs’ manufacturers. It is equipped with Japan’s biggest permanent exhibition hall showcasing SMEs’ outstanding technologies and products at its 200 booths, where about 27,000 people, including 400 groups, visit each year.
According to Dr. Al-Muttawa, after initial recommendation by the Japanese Embassy in Kuwait, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has arranged the visit to MOBIO through their offices in Dubai and Osaka. The JETRO has recently launched an Industrial Tourism program to promote visits to manufacturing hubs, factory tours, and industrial museums in Japan.
While in Osaka, the youth also visited the Entrepreneurial Museum of Challenge and Innovation to trace the growth of Japanese entrepreneurs from villages to the world stage. Many large corporations today started as small enterprises, such as Osaka-origin Panasonic and trading firm Itochu.
Their itinerary included a tour of the Disaster Prevention Museum, where they experienced an earthquake simulator, fire-escape training and other facilities. At the site, Refrigeration Industries Co. (Coolex) Safety Manager Khaled Yousry underlined the importance of applying new ideas gained in Japan in Kuwait’s local factories and manufacturing sector. “Most of the time, simple solutions lead to the greatest impact,” Yousry added.
The delegation is currently on a week-long tour in Japan visiting manufacturing-related facilities and factories. Al-Muttawa stressed that the goal of this technical trip is to create a lasting impression through first-hand experience. (end) mk.hb

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