Japanese Ambassador ITO Naoki has assured continuous effort to improve the business environment for further promoting trade and investment in Bangladesh.
"For further strengthening bilateral relations, I, in close cooperation with the government and citizens of Bangladesh, will make the utmost effort to improve the business environment for further promoting trade and investment, as well as to further deepen mutual understanding and exchange of the peoples between Japan and Bangladesh, said the Japanese diplomat in a message to wish Bangladesh on its 50th anniversary of freedom.
Japan and Bangladesh will enjoy further prosperity and the friendly relations among the peoples of the two countries and it will continue to develop, he hoped.
The friendly relations between Japan and Bangladesh date back to before the independence. In 1970, citizens in Japan raised funds on the streets for East Pakistan at that time in response to the devastating damages caused by a cyclone. Furthermore, on February 10, 1972 after Bangladesh's independence on March 26, 1971, Japan recognized Bangladesh as a sovereign state, which was the first among Western countries, read the statement.
This continuous cooperation has never faded even during the current Covid-19 crisis. Last August, the Japanese government agreed to provide Bangladesh government with the Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Budget Support Loan for JPY 35 billion (Approximately USD 330 million). In addition, Japan provided medical equipment for healthcare sectors as well as emergency support through international organizations. Furthermore, in the same month, the largest ever annual yen loan package of JPY 338 billion (approximately USD 3.2 billion) (for Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan to Bangladesh) was signed.
From this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the independence, JICA's projects of large scale infrastructure will be completed one after another to promote Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative. Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line 6 will be partially open in December this year. After that, Special Economic Zone in Araihazar, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Expansion, Matarbari Deep Sea Port and Power Plant Stations, as well as Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will start operating.
The completion of these projects will change the face of the nation and profoundly contribute to the stability and prosperity of Bangladesh. This country will move a step closer to the realization of the "Golden Bengal". In 2026, Bangladesh will graduate from the least developed countries (LDC) and aims to become a developed country in 2041 by achieving "Vision 2041".
Moreover, the stability and prosperity of Bangladesh, which is located at the junction of India and ASEAN, is extremely important for the stability and prosperity of the entire Indo-Pacific region. Bangladesh is expected to play an even greater role in promoting regional cooperation and addressing global agenda. In this regard, Bangladesh's current efforts for providing shelters to "Rohingya" refugees from Myanmar and working towards the early repatriation of the refugees are worthy of our appreciation.
Japan will spare no effort to extend its support to that end. As the largest development partner, Japan will continue to extend its cooperation for the development of Bangladesh and for enhancing regional connectivity, and work closely with Bangladesh to realize a "free and open Indo-Pacific"(FOIP).