Bangabandhu had made tremendous efforts to strengthen bilateral ties after the independence of Bangladesh, said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a video message today.
He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a 10-day celebration of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and the golden jubilee of independence at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka.
Fifty-years ago, Bangabandhu led Bangladesh to independence with his indomitable spirit and Japan was one of the first countries that recognised Bangladesh as a nation-state right after its independence, Suga recalled, BSS reports.
“We had the privilege of welcoming Bangabandhu to Japan. During his stay in Japan, Bangabandhu visited even farming and fishing villages in rural areas where he interacted with many local Japanese citizens,” he said.
Bangabandhu said he considered the development of Japan as a model to follow, Yoshihide Suga added.
“And later he made tremendous efforts to strengthen bilateral ties,” he continued.
The Japanese PM said, “Understand that it was the idea of Bangabandhu to design Bangladeshi national flag in a way that resembles the Japanese one, just like we are brothers.”
Japan and Bangladesh both having the nostalgic yet beautiful landscape of paddy fields have valued “heart to heart exchanges” and have developed profound interactions among the citizens at the grassroots level. Japanese children tried hard and collected relief donations for Bangladesh in the aftermath of the cyclone at the time of its independence.
“Bangladesh offered to Japan relief fund and supplies when the Great East Japan earthquake struck us 10 years ago,” Suga also said, the report added.
He further said: “Our traditional friendship is now tied with a strong and firm bond under the spirit of trust, cooperation and mutual benefit.”
Regarding the economic relations, Japan has consistently supported Bangladesh’s efforts towards the realisation of “Sonar Bangla” since its independence, he further said.
He said Japan will continue to work with Bangladesh to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific.
In recent years, Japan has actively supported infrastructure development of Bangladesh, such as Dhaka MRT, Dhaka International Airport 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.
“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.
Bangladesh, which is located at a key point connecting Southeast Asia and Indian subcontinent and has successfully been achieving high economic growth in recent years, is a very attractive destination for Japanese business community, he said.
“It is my hope that our economic relations which are marked by a great potential will make a further leap forward in the years to come.”
The outbreak of Covid-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to socio-economic activities in the world and between the two countries.
In order to overcome this crisis together with Bangladesh, Japan has provided emergency budget support loan, grant of medical equipment, and other emergency support.
“The pandemic has also heightened uncertainty, and how we secure peace and stability of the region has become an increasingly important challenge.”
Last but not least the year 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bangladesh, he mentioned.
“I will join hands with Bangladesh and work together closely to further strengthen our bilateral relationship towards this special year,” he said.
He offered his heartfelt congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh as well as the centennial birth anniversary of Bangabandhu, the first president of Bangladesh.
The Japanese premier expressed his sincere wishes for the prosperity of Bangladesh and Japan and further deepening of the bilateral relationship.