Japan keen to strengthen bilateral ties | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 26, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:49 AM, February 26, 2021

Japan keen to strengthen bilateral ties

Bangladesh and Japan have agreed to build a strategic relationship by further intensifying the current excellent ties between the two friendly countries.

As part of building stronger bonds, Japan suggested partnering with Bangladesh in further developing southern Chattogram area centering on the Matarbari projects that are being built under Japan's Big-B initiative and have potential to connect the entire region.

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The consensus was built at a virtual meeting between Bangladesh's Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Hiroshi Suzuki yesterday.

As the foreign secretary briefed on how Bangladesh was working to resolve the difficulties faced by foreign investors, the Japanese minister appreciated the initiatives taken by the principal secretary to the prime minister to particularly look into the problems of the Japanese investors.

Most of the problems were resolved despite the pandemic induced constraints, Suzuki told Momen. 

The secretary expressed hope that these initiatives would encourage more Japanese investment particularly in the areas of agriculture, especially jute, ICT and high-tech industries, blue economy, health and human resources development.

Japan is also keen to support capacity development in maritime security, disaster management and enhance cooperation in defence matters, according to a statement of the foreign ministry.

The two sides discussed the possibility of concluding a free trade agreement, particularly in view of Bangladesh's impending graduation from the least developed country status. Japan assured to continue its generalised system of preferences in the post-graduation period.

The secretary also informed Bangladesh Biman's plan to resume its flights to Tokyo, which was welcomed by Suzuki, who said the proposed air-link would help greater people to people contact and promote businesses.

Momen also stressed the need for early repatriation of the Rohingyas to Rakhaine State of Myanmar, while urging Japan to use her influence to persuade Myanmar and the international community to create a conducive environment there.

The Japanese side stated that they also wanted to see an early return of the Rohingyas and assured of their continued engagement in this regard.

Bangladesh reiterated her support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

Suzuki offered assistance for Bangladesh's transition to clean energy and briefed on Japan's vision of Free and Open Indo-Pacific, which is meant for regional peace and development.

Both the sides recalled Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's groundbreaking visit to Japan in 1973, which laid the rock-solid foundation of the bilateral relations.

They also discussed about Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's participation at an event celebrating Bangabandhu's birth centenary and the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.

The two sides agreed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022 in a befitting manner and with the exchange of high-level visits.

The foreign secretary expressed his gratitude for Covid-related assistance extended by Japan, including direct budgetary support on top of the highest ever official development assistance loan package of 338 billion Japanese Yen in 2020.

He requested continuing the budgetary support for the next five years. The two sides decided to meet again in early 2022.

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