Support to continue for Bangladesh’s development

Japan understands that there are compelling reasons to create conducive atmosphere in Rakhine State of Myanmar for ensuring safe, voluntary and sustainable return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali shared some specific proposals in this direction during Kono's brief visit to Bangladesh on August 7.

Foreign Minister Ali and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono held a bilateral meeting on the same day at state guesthouse Meghna. Minister Kono, before visiting Dhaka, visited Myanmar and shared five specific proposals with Myanmar leadership.

"Myanmar side gladly accepted those proposals for quick and sustainable return of Rohingyas," Japanese press secretary Takeshi Osuga told Dhaka Courier.

The five proposals are: Urging Myanmar to fully cooperate with independent enquiry committee, to fully cooperate with the UN agencies based on recently signed MoU, close camps for internally displaced persons in Myanmar, to expedite the process of building modern villages and conduct regular briefings in Rohingya camps by Myanmar side about steps taken on safe return of Rohingyas.

Addressing a press briefing after the meeting, Mahmood Ali said Japan has agreed to provide necessary support for the repatriation and resettlement of the Rohingyas.

Bangladesh and Japan agreed on the importance of stability in the region for building stronger economic partnership between the two countries and early realization of safe and secure return of the Rohingyas is the key, he said.

Tokyo's Support to Continue

The Japanese side also sought the safety of its nationals working in Bangladesh and a congenial environment for Japanese investors here as Japan wants to deepen its ties with Bangladesh and help achieve its long-term development goals.

Mentioning that the charge-sheet in the Holey Artisan café case was submitted to court on July 23 this year, Mahmood Ali said the two countries agreed to work together to promote and maintain regional and international peace and security as well as addressing terrorism.

He hoped that Japan will stand in solidarity with Bangladesh in its fight against terrorism and review its travel alert.

Kono said the two countries at the meeting also confirmed further deepening their bilateral relationship under the comprehensive partnership and strengthen efforts to develop a conclusive investment climate, including ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals in Bangladesh.

He said Japan highly values Bangladeshi government's generous acceptance of the displaced people from Myanmar and the continuation of dialogue with the Myanmar government towards a solution to the matter.

The minister thanked Japan for its firm resolve to continue development of cooperation and for signing the 39th Official Development Assistance (ODA) package of about US$ 2 billion.

Meeting with PM

Minister Kono conveyed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that his country Japan has asked Myanmar to speed up the construction of houses, schools and other infrastructures in Rakhine to ensure the proper shelter of Rohingyas after their repatriation from Bangladesh.

During the recent visit of Japanese Foreign Minister to Myanmar, he had meetings with Myanmar President Win Myint and State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Kono also asked them to take the internally displaced Rohingyas from different parts of their country to their original place. He mentioned that both Myanmar President and Suu Kyi informed him that they have an MoU with Bangladesh regarding the return of the Rohingyas.

The Japanese Foreign Minister also said the Myanmar government had another agreement with a UN body for the repatriation of the Rohingyas. The visiting Japanese Foreign Minister termed both Bangladesh and Myanmar as their comprehensive partner.

He mentioned that Japan will provide US$ 2 million to help the Rohingyas tackle the adverse situation at camps in Bangladesh during the monsoon period.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested Japan to persuade Myanmar so that they take back the Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

"They must return, Myanmar signed an MoU and agreed to take back Rohingyas, but they didn't take any action to that end," she said.

Hasina urged Japan to ask Myanmar to send their team to Bangladesh to see the sufferings and plight of the Rohingyas.

She mentioned that more than one million Rohingyas have been living in Bangladesh and that is a huge pressure on the country.

Mentioning that the people of international aid agencies are working here for the Rohingyas, she said adding that these people can assist Myanmar in the repatriation process there, too.

Minister Kono said Japanese entrepreneurs are interested to make more investments in Bangladesh and appreciated the Bangladesh government for its prompt action after the Holey Artisan Cafe attack in Gulshan in 2016.

He sought Bangladesh's support for Japan's candidature for hosting the World Expo 2025 as well as Japan's candidature for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2023-24 term.

The Prime Minister said the government has already allocated land for Japanese investors in special economic zones so that they can make investment there in addition to taking a very strong stance against terrorism.

Tokyo wants peaceful polls

Takeshi Osuga, also an Assistant Minister, said the Japanese Minister discussed the issue of next national election in Bangladesh.

"Japan wants to see the next national is conducted in a peaceful and democratic way," he said.

The Japanese Foreign Minister hoped that the situation related to student protests will be taken care of in a peaceful manner.

Foreign Minister Ali briefed his Japanese counterpart in details and said the situation is under control.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday afternoon on a brief visit to further promote the Bangladesh-Japan comprehensive partnership and discuss other issues of mutual interests, including Rohingya crisis.

Secretary-Bilateral (Asia and Pacific) at the Foreign Ministry Mahbub Uz Zaman received the Japanese minister at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport here upon his arrival in the afternoon.

On August 6, Kono and State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi discussed how to resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis, international media reported.

Japan said they will continue to fully support Bangladesh's development on all fronts so that the country can attain "newly industrialised economy" status by 2021, through the 39th Yen Loan Package (total 200.4 billion yen).

On May 14, Kono held a Japan-Bangladesh meeting and working dinner at Iikura Guest House with Foreign Minister Ali.

During the meeting, Kono stated that Japan will further promote the Japan-Bangladesh comprehensive partnership and continue to fully support Bangladesh's development on all fronts.

Besides, he explained that Japan will further strengthen the bilateral relations towards the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2022 and requested the government of Bangladesh to continue to secure the safety of Japanese people.

Japan highly commended the efforts made by the government of Bangladesh in accepting Rohingyas from the Rakhine State of Myanmar and the ongoing dialogue with the government of Myanmar.

Bangladesh deeply values friendship with Japan and we hope Bangladesh and Japan will closely work for shared mutual interest to ensure peace and prosperity for our two peoples.

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