12:00 AM, September 05, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Abe's visit tomorrow holds promises

Abe's visit tomorrow holds promises

Diplomatic Correspondent

Strengthening security and economic ties as well as Japanese investment and assistance in energy, infrastructure and large projects will come up at tomorrow's summit between the prime ministers of Bangladesh and Japan.
Diplomatic sources said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will arrive here tomorrow for less than 24 hours, will discuss with her Bangladesh counterpart a plan about setting up a special industrial area for Japanese companies. The plan is likely to be finalised at the meeting.
The Japanese government is likely to provide Dhaka with about ¥40 billion for the industrial zone. Besides, it will also set up a ¥15 billion fund for special purposes.
During the visit, premier Abe is expected to announce Tokyo's intention to help Dhaka with major infrastructure projects and corporate financing.
“We are giving highest importance to Japanese investment issues… The visit is considered as a milestone in our bilateral relations,” Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told a press conference at the ministry yesterday.
The September 6-7 trip of the Japanese PM will hopefully play a very significant role in continuing his country's assistance towards Bangladesh's socio-economic development, he added.  
Abe will have an entourage of over 150 people, including executives from 50 companies.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, Japan will offer loans for building railways and expressways between cities and construction of infrastructures in Dhaka and Chittagong. The area around a coal-fired power plant in Matarbari, Cox's Bazar will be a priority for development.
Japan will seek Dhaka's support in the next year's election to a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC).
A highly placed source said PM Abe will discuss Japan's candidacy for the UNSC seat for 2016-17 with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Only one UN member state from the Asia-Pacific region can win each election.
Bangladesh's support is crucial for Japan as Dhaka has also expressed its interest in contesting the election and has been campaigning since 2002.
Japan wants Bangladesh to withdraw its candidacy in favour of it, but Dhaka is yet to make any such commitment, mentioned sources.
After arriving in Dhaka tomorrow noon, Abe will hold the meeting with Hasina, after which a joint communiqué will be issued.
The foreign minister hoped that the Japanese investors would be encouraged to invest in Bangladesh in energy, electricity generation, infrastructure development, IT, textiles, RMG, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and other prospective sectors.
Bangladesh will seek Japanese support for boosting its export to the East Asian country, he noted.
The Japanese leader will meet President Abdul Hamid and Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad. Abe will also meet BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at Sonargaon  Hotel tomorrow.



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