Bangladesh has reiterated her support for Japan’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council as the two countries agreed to foster greater cooperation in the international fora including at the UN.
The two countries also discussed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s participation at an event celebrating Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.
The two sides agreed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022 in a befitting manner including through exchange of high-level visits.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Thursday had an extensive meeting with Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Hiroshi Suzuki as part of regular Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) to comprehensively discuss the bilateral relations and regional and global issues of common interest.
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FTA with Japan
Bangladesh and Japan discussed the possibility of concluding free trade agreement (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, said the Ministry ofForeign Affairs.
Bangladesh and Japan agreed to further intensify their existing excellent ties and work towards building a strategic relationship.
Both 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.
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 southern Chattagram area centering on the Matarbari projects.
Both 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.
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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.
Foreign Secretary 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.
Foreign Secretary also appraised Biman’s plan to resume its flights to Tokyo.
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 countries during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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He requested to continue the budgetary support for next five years.
Lauding Bangladesh’s leadership in climate change discourse, 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.