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Bangladesh, Japan pledge for deeper engagement

Published : 28 Feb 2023 10:24 PM | Updated : 01 Mar 2023 01:12 PM

Bangladesh and Japan agreed to further intensify their "existing excellent ties" and work towards building a strategic relationship, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen had an extensive meeting with Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shigeo Yamada on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan, as part of regular Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) to comprehensively discuss the bilateral relations, regional and global issues.

Ambassador Shahabuddin Ahmed and other senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bangladesh Embassy in Tokyo also attended the meeting.

Both sides recalled Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic visit to Japan in 1973 which cemented the bilateral relations.

Japan highly appreciated the well planned and structured approach to development led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through her visions 2021 and 2041. 

As part of building stronger bonds, Japan suggested to partner with Bangladesh in further developing the southern Chattogram area centering on the Matarbari Infrastructure Development Initiative (MIDI) project in the context of connectivity. 

Both sides agreed that these projects being built under Japan’s Big-B initiative have potentials to benefit not only Bangladesh but also the entire region.

Both sides discussed issues of bilateral relations in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture, especially ICT and high-tech industries, blue economy, health, human resource development, capacity development in maritime security, disaster management and defense cooperation.

By emphasising to promote connectivity in the coming days, Foreign Secretary appreciated the Japanese involvement in Bangladesh’s development projects including the Matharbari, Metro Rail and the Third Terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, among others.

Japanese Senior Deputy Minister appreciated Bangladesh’s growth in spite of the pandemic and global economic downturn. Foreign Secretary expressed his gratitude for COVID-related assistance extended by Japan including vaccine provision and direct budgetary support for the next couple of years.

Japanese Senior Deputy Minister assured that Japan will continue to support in all development projects of Bangladesh related to connectivity. 

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the inauguration of the first phase of Bangladesh Special Economic Zone at Araihazar and Metro Rail. 

Bangladesh hopes that this economic zone will attract more Japanese investments since Bangladesh attaches high importance to the bilateral relations with Japan and will facilitate Japanese investors in this regard.

Foreign Secretary also appraised Biman’s plan to resume its flights to Tokyo in the running year. 

Japanese Senior Deputy Minister Yamada welcomed the idea and stated that the proposed air-link would help greater people to people contact and promote businesses.

Foreign Secretary stressed the urgency for early repatriation of the Rohingyas to their ancestral homes at the Rakhaine state of Myanmar. 

The Japanese side stated that they would continue their assistance to Bangladesh in this regard.

Foreign Secretary invited Japanese Senior Deputy Minister to visit Bangladesh for the next FOC in 2024