Have you heard of Neemrana? Well, it was a sleepy little town on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway in Behror Tehsil. It is famous for its fort. That was about it. But have you travelled lately around this town? If you have, then you would know that it is more Japanese than Indian! There are restaurants abound having Japanese names and having Japanese food on the menu.
Hotels are equipped with karaoke bars and Japanese saunas. Supermarkets are stocked with Japanese food, golf simulators, and restaurants serve sushi, yakitori, gyoza and nikomi hamburg.
A special Japanese industrial park makes sense given Japan is India's 10th largest trading partner with the bilateral relationship worth more than $14 billion.
This has been a gradual transformation due to the scores of Japanese companies setting up factories in this town. In fact the industrial zone there is known itself as Japan Industrial Zone. It was first started by Daikin, the largest AC maker in the world and once that company got established all followed suit and now Toyota Motor, Unicham and some 40 more auto anicilliary companies have set shop. This was started by Rajasthan Govt through a JV between Rajasthan Industrial Cooperation (RIICO) and the Japanese External Trade Organization, which set up apart from other industrial zones a Japanese zone in 2006. This zone has helped create nearly 10,000 jobs for Indians and with another Japanese zone planned across 500 acres in Giloth, more Indians are expected to get employment. Rajasthan government has made sure the Japanese don't have to negotiate the labyrinth of Indian bureaucracy. The clearances and approvals are all arranged beforehand. Electricity and power are reliable.
But our favourite Japanese company, Suzuki went to Gujarat and not Neemrana. Does this mean that other Japanese companies will also go now to Gujarat? Not likely as Gujarat is a dry state and drinking in public places is not allowed. This may sound very trivial but for the Japanese having a drink or two before/after dinner is a habit and if that is not allowed in Gujarat, it a big game changer for the Japanese.