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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Bangladesh, Japan agree to work together for tackling Covid-19, Rohingya crisis

The Daily Star
Star Digital Report
June 09, 2021
Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki calls on Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam at his office on June 8, 2021. Photo: Collected


Bangladesh and Japan have agreed to work together to tackle the challenges of Covid-19 and Rohingya crisis.

The consensus came when Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki called on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam at his office yesterday (Tuesday).

They comprehensively discussed the bilateral relations and issues of common concerns, says a foreign ministry statement today.

Both sides recalled Father of The Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's ground-breaking visit to Japan in 1973, which laid the rock-solid foundation of the bilateral relations.

The state minister conveyed his deep appreciation for Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's participation at the 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 the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022 in a befitting manner including through exchange of high-level visits.

Shahriar Alam stated that Covid-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented challenging time for all and thanked Japan for the coronavirus related assistance.

He briefed the Japanese envoy on the initiatives taken by Bangladesh government to combat the pandemic and sought support from Japan to continue its fight against Covid-19.

Japanese Ambassador appreciated the socio-economic progress of Bangladesh, even during the pandemic, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and assured of continued support to Bangladesh to deal with Covid-19 situation.

State Minister Shahriar Alam underscored that if 1.1 million Rohingyas were denied the opportunity to return to their ancestral homes in the Rakhaine state of Myanmar and said it could have ramifications for regional and international security and stability.

He also urged Japan to use her influence to persuade Myanmar and the international community to create a conducive environment within Myanmar for safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas.

The ambassador reiterated Japan's commitment of continued support for Rohingya repatriation.

Shahriar Alam hoped that the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (Big-B) Initiative of Japan would accelerate cooperation for development of quality infrastructure and create more investment opportunities in Bangladesh. These, he added, would strengthen regional connectivity.

They also reviewed the progress of the Japanese funded major development projects.

Recognising Bangladesh's leadership role in the climate change discourse, the ambassador expressed willingness of the Japanese investors in clean energy.

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