DHAKA, Feb 25, 2021 (BSS) – Bangladesh and Japan today agreed to further intensify existing excellent ties and work towards building a strategic relationship.
This was stated during an extensive meeting held between Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Hiroshi Suzuki as part of regular Foreign Office Consultations (FOC).
The objective of the meeting was comprehensively discussion the bilateral relations and regional and global issues of common interest, a press release said here.
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 Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s participation at an event celebrating Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh.
Both the parties agreed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022 in a befitting manner including through exchange of high-level visits.
Japan highly appreciated the well planned and structured approach to development led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through her visions 2021 and 2041.
Foreign Secretary stressed the urgency for early repatriation of the Rohingyas to their ancestral homes at the Rakhaine state of Myanmar.
He also urged Japan to use her influence to persuade Myanmar and the international community to create a conducive environment in Myanmar for the safe return of the Rohingyas.
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.
Both Bangladesh and Japan agreed to foster greater cooperation in the international fora including at the UN.
Bangladesh reiterated its support for Japan’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.
Foreign Secretary expressed his gratitude for COVID-related assistance extended by Japan including direct budgetary support on top of the highest ever ODA loan package of 338 billion Japanese Yen in 2020.
He requested to continue the budgetary support for next five years.
As part of building stronger bonds, Japan suggested to partner with Bangladesh in further developing southern Chattogram area centering on the Matarbari projects.
Both the sides agreed that these projects being built under Japan’s Big-B initiative have potentials to benefit not only Bangladesh but can also connect the entire region.
Foreign Secretary briefed on how Bangladesh was working to resolve the difficulties faced by foreign investors.
In this regard, Minister Suzuki appreciated the initiatives taken by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister under the Private Public Economic Dialogue (PPED) to particularly look into the problems of the Japanese investors and resolved most of the problem despite the pandemic induced constraints.
Masud 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 resource development.
Japan is also keen to support capacity development in maritime security, disaster management and enhance cooperation in defence matters.
The two sides discussed the possibility of concluding a FTA, particularly in view of Bangladesh’s impending graduation from the LDC status.
Japan assured to continue its GSP scheme in the post-graduation period. Foreign Secretary also appraised Biman’s plan to resume its flights to Tokyo.
Minister Suzuki welcomed the idea and stated that the proposed air-link would help greater people to people contact and promote businesses.
He also appreciated Biman operating flights for repatriation of the nationals of both the countries during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lauding Bangladesh’s leadership in climate change discourse Minister Suzuki offered assistance for Bangladesh’s transition to clean energy.
He also briefed on Japan’s vision of Free and Open Indo-Pacific and elaborated on the peace and development dimension of the vision.
Foreign Secretary was assisted by Secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shams and Khondker M. Talha, Director General (East Asia and Pacific).
The Bangladesh delegation also included Additional Secretary Munira Sultana, DG PMO, Md. Ashraf Ali Khan, Joint Secretary ERD, Zinat Ara, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Lt. Col. Zillur Rahman from the Armed Forces Division.
The two sides decided to meet again in early 2022.