‘Bangladesh is an attractive destination for the Japanese business community’
The economic relations between Bangladesh and Japan, marked by a great potential, will make a further leap forward in the years to come, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.
"Bangladesh, which is located at a key point connecting Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent and has successfully been achieving high economic growth in recent years, is a very attractive destination for the Japanese business community," he said.
Suga made the pre-recorded remarks at the celebration of the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the 10-day special programs began on Wednesday at the National Parade Ground.
President Abdul Hamid, President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana were present at the function.
50 years of diplomatic ties
Prime Minister Suga said 50 years ago, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led Bangladesh to independence with his indomitable spirit.
"Japan was one of the first countries that recognized Bangladesh as a nation state right after its independence, and we had a privilege of welcoming Bangabandhu to Japan," he said.
During his stay in Japan, Suga said Bangabandhu even visited farming and fishing villages in rural areas, where he interacted with many local Japanese citizens.
"He said he considered the development of Japan as a model to follow and later made tremendous efforts to strengthen bilateral ties. I understand that it was the idea of Bangabandhu himself to design the Bangladeshi national flag in a way that resembles the Japanese one, just like we are brothers," said the Japanese prime minister.
He said the year 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bangladesh.
"I will join hands with Bangladesh and work together closely to further strengthen our bilateral relationship toward this special year," Suga said.
Japan and Bangladesh, both having nostalgic yet beautiful landscape of paddy fields, have valued “heart-to-heart exchanges” and have developed profound interactions among citizens at grassroots level, Suga said.
Regarding the economic relations, Japan has consistently supported Bangladesh’s efforts toward the realization of “Sonar Bangla” since its independence.
"Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge, depicted in the Tk100 banknote, and Sonargaon Hotel, built shortly after the independence, have been symbols of our friendship for a long time," said the Japanese prime minister.
In recent years, he said Japan has actively supported the infrastructure development of Bangladesh, such as Dhaka MRT, Dhaka International Airport’s 3rd Terminal and Matarbari Deep Sea Port for a better regional connectivity, under “the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B)”.
Moreover, Japan also attaches importance to Bangladesh’s socio-economic development such as health and education and extends support meeting the needs of Bangladesh, said the Japanese prime minister.
"I am confident that Japan’s cooperation in these areas will support Bangladesh’s goal to be a middle income country and then become a developed country and eventually contribute to further development of our relationship," Suga said.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to socio-economic activities in the world and between our two countries.
In order to overcome this crisis together with Bangladesh, Suga said Japan has provided emergency budget support loan, grant of medical equipment and other emergency support through international organizations for Bangladesh.
He said the pandemic has also heightened uncertainty, and how they secure peace and stability of the region has become an increasingly important challenge.
"Building a free and open order based on the rule of law and strengthening connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region will lead to peace, stability and prosperity of the region. Japan will continue to work with Bangladesh to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific," Suga said.
On behalf of the government and people of Japan, Suga offered his heartfelt congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh as well as the centennial birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu.
"I express my sincere wishes for the prosperity of Bangladesh and Japan and further deepening of our friendship," he said.
Just as Japanese children tried hard and collected relief donation for Bangladesh in the aftermath of a cyclone at the time of its independence, Bangladesh offered to Japan in the form of relief fund and supplies when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck them 10 years ago, he recalled.
"Our traditional friendship is now tied with a strong and firm bond under the spirit of trust, cooperation and mutual benefit," said the Japanese prime minister.