As the pandemic ravaged economies and health systems across the world last year, the two peace-loving nations of Bangladesh and Japan held strong by working together for national and regional prosperity and stability, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki said yesterday.
The ambassador made the remarks at the Japan embassy in the capital at a national day reception programme to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Naruhito.
During his speech, Ambassador Naoki relayed the emperor's message for Bangladesh. "Let us share the pain. Let us cooperate. I look forward to a bright future ahead for both of us as we overcome the pandemic with patience," the Japanese emperor said, according to Naoki.
So far, Japan has provided budgetary support approximately worth USD 330 million to Bangladesh in August last year. The Asian powerhouse has also signed the largest ever annual yen-loan package of approximately USD 3.2 billion for quality infrastructure projects.
Beginning from 2020 till 2025, Bangladesh will see the completion of various JICA-supported mega projects.
Dhaka MRT Line 6 will be partially open in December. After that, the Special Economic Zone in Araihazar, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Extension, Matarbari Deep Sea Port and Power Stations, and Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will start operating one after another, Naoki said.
"These are essential for Bangladesh's growth," Ambassador Naoki said, adding that these peojects are capable of changing the face of the nation once completed.
"Japan will continue to extend its support to Bangladesh's development as much as possible, bearing in mind it also leads to the overall stability and prosperity of the Bay of Bengal and Indo-Pacific region, which are conducive to realise our common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific," he said.
Addressing the event as chief guest, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said Japan's role as the largest provider of official development assistance since 1972 has been instrumental for Bangladesh's development.
"Currently, we are working towards strategic partnerships to reach even higher levels of bilateral relationship," she said.
"As trusted partners and peace-loving nations, we have always worked together and supported each other to promote global peace and prosperity," she added.
Nasrul Hamid, state minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources; Salman Rahman, advisor to the prime minister; and Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat were also present during the occasion.