Bangladesh will seek Japan’s “stronger engagement” in its development efforts through ‘investment and financing’ in major projects during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s forthcoming visit to Japan slated for November 29-30.
“We are happy with Japan looking at the areas (mega projects) where they are working,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Sunday.
He said Japan is a “good investor” for Bangladesh, and they are implementing major projects. Now Bangladesh seeks more financing for important projects from Japan.
“The basic idea is Japan is capable of financing and they always finance without any tough conditions. They have technology, too,” Momen said.
Countries like Japan and Singapore are interested in the management of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA). “We will see and evaluate (for taking a decision),” Momen said.
He said Japan is also interested in providing port facilities and management. “We have not made any decision yet.”
Asked whether Bangladesh will seek financing for the second Padma Bridge in Bangladesh, Momen said, “That could be an issue, but it depends (on the decision at the inter-ministerial meeting.”
He said seeking financing and technology for the underground railway project. “That could be an issue, too. These are all in the discussion. Nothing has been finalised yet.”
Responding to a question, the foreign minister said Bangladesh will also seek Japan’s “proactive engagement” on the Rohingya issue as their repatriation is yet to start.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki said they want to see the start of Rohingya repatriation and his country will continue to help to that end.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas who have fled their homeland in Rakhine State after being persecuted by Myanmar military.
Asked about defence cooperation, Momen said the Japanese side is interested in selling defence equipment to Bangladesh, but Bangladesh’s general policy is to ensure people’s welfare.
“We want to feed our people first, provide shelter, healthcare and education. Then, we will look into other issues,” he said, highlighting Bangladesh’s priority.
Japan sees Bangladesh as a “rapidly developing economy” and an “attractive” investment destination.
Located at the nodal point between Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Japan also sees Bangladesh as an “important partner” in realising a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
Momen said Bangladesh believes that the Indo Pacific region should be “free, inclusive and navigable” for all without any “encumbrances.”
Asked whether Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will be invited during the partial inauguration of the metro rail in Bangladesh, Momen said they will look into it.
In May, 2014, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting with Sheikh Hasina in Tokyo and they jointly launched the “Bangladesh-Japan Comprehensive Partnership.” In September same year, Abe held a summit meeting with Hasina in Dhaka.
Japan recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign nation on February 10, 1972, and the year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan.
Momen recently visited Japan and paid tribute to former Prime Minister Abe attending his state funeral in Tokyo on behalf of the government and the people of Bangladesh after he was assassinated.