Online Desk: Dhaka is set to ink at least eight deals with Tokyo as prime minister Sheikh Hasina leaves Dhaka today for a four-day official visit to Japan at the invitation of her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.
The leaders of the two nations are expected to lift the ties of bilateral cooperation to the level of strategic partnership through a joint declaration, according to officials.
‘About eight memorandums of understanding are likely to be signed between the two countries in the presence of the two prime ministers,’ foreign minister AK Abdul Momen told a press briefing at his Segunbagicha office in the Dhaka city on Monday.
He said that deals on agriculture, metro rail, industrial development, ship recycling, customs matters, intellectual properties, defence cooperation, information and communication technology, and cyber security cooperation were set to be signed during the PM’s visit.
‘Japan has been the number one development partner of Bangladesh since its independence. As Bangladesh is turning into an investment-dependent economy from an aid-dependent nation, the relation between the two countries is also rising to the strategic level,’ former diplomat M Humayun Kabir told New Age.
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Bangladesh, he said, being the fourth populous nation in the Indo-Pacific is an important country to Japan for geopolitical reasons.
‘Bangladesh requires Japan’s support to cope with its development needs in the days to come as the Asian economy is becoming digital,’ said Humayn, also president of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, adding that the government must pay attention to internal reforms for a ‘sustainable political infrastructure’.
Moreover, Bangladesh must protect its interests while negotiating with Japan, also interested in defence matters, he added.
Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen held a secretary-level meeting in Tokyo in February to finalise the documents for the bilateral meeting of the two prime ministers.
Hasina’s visit to Japan, initially scheduled for November 29–December 1, 2022, was reportedly postponed due to the political situation there.
Foreign minister Abdul Momen said on several occasions that the visit was postponed due to Japan’s internal political situation and a spike in Covid infections.
Hasina last visited Japan in 2019.
She will visit the United States and then the United Kingdom after concluding her Japan trip, the foreign minister said.
‘Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will leave Bangladesh on Tuesday on a 15-day official tour to Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom,’ Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.
She is scheduled to fly from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airline at 7:45am on Tuesday and is expected to arrive in Tokyo at 5:00 pm (local time) on the day.
Momen said that the prime minister would pay a courtesy call on Emperor of Japan Naruhito on April 26.
On the same day, she will hold a bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, after the signing of the deals.
Sheikh Hasina is also scheduled to attend an investment summit and a community reception in that country during her visit.
She is scheduled to confer the ‘Friends of Liberation War’ honour on four Japanese nationals for their contribution to Bangladesh’s independence war in 1971, Momen said.
The prime minister will reach the United States from Tokyo to attend a ceremony to mark the 50-year partnership between Bangladesh and the World Bank in Washington DC on May 1, according to the BSS report.
On May 4, Momen said, the Bangladesh PM will leave Washington for London to attend the coronation of Charles III and Camilla as king and queen consort of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.
The PM will leave London for Dhaka on May 8. Source: New Age