Tokyo pledges Dhaka help on all fronts

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Asianbangla, Dhaka : Japan will further promote the Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership and continue to fully support Bangladesh’s development on all fronts so that the country can attain the status of a middle-income country by 2021.

For this, Japan has sought a safe and conducive investment environment and asked the Bangladesh government to continue to secure the safety of Japanese people.

While raising the issue during separate meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono also asked Dhaka to share information on the basis of the charge-sheet submitted to court regarding the July 1, 2016, Holey Artisan terrorist attack that left 22 people, including seven Japanese, dead.

Talking to reporters last night, Press Secretary of the foreign affairs ministry of Japan, Takeshi Osuga, said the Bangladesh PM had given assurances that an incident like the 2016 attack would never happen in Bangladesh as steps had been taken to eliminate the root of terrorism and militancy in the country.

Ali also told them that the Bangladesh government had taken every possible measure to ensure the safety and security of Japanese expatriates, along with those of the others.

Bangladesh further urged Japan to review its travel alert which was imposed after the Holey Artisan incident.

Ali said after the bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono Bangladesh was “grateful” to Japan for the country’s support and understanding shown after the tragic incident.

“Investigation of the Holey Artisan incident is being conducted with the highest priority and the charge-sheet was submitted to court on 23 July, 2018,” he told the joint press briefing at State Guesthouse Meghna yesterday evening.

“I hope Japan will stand in solidarity with Bangladesh in our fight against terrorism and review its travel alert,” he added.

Kono came to Dhaka on yesterday on a brief visit from Myanmar. Upon his arrival at 12 noon from Myanmar, he first visited the Holey Artisan Bakery building and paid tribute to the victims.

This was Kono’s second visit to Bangladesh since his first in November last year.

Later at a press briefing after the meeting, Ali said Japan had agreed to provide necessary support for the repatriation and resettlement of the Rohingyas.

“Japan understands that there is a compelling reason to create conducive atmosphere in Rakhine State of Myanmar and sustainable return of the Rohingyas and we have shared some specific proposals in this regard,” he said.

He said Bangladesh and Japan agreed on the importance of stability in the region for building a stronger economic partnership between the two countries and early realisation of safe and secure return of the Rohingyas was key to this.

In the separate briefing by Takeshi Osuga, he said Kono had shared five proposals with Myanmar during his meeting with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Myanmar leader had gladly accepted those for quick and sustainable return of Rohingyas.

The five proposals include allowing a newly established commission to conduct a free and transparent investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine State.

Myanmar last week announced that it had formed a four-member commission involving former Philippine and Japanese diplomats to probe the allegations of atrocities.

Kono urged Myanmar to fully cooperate with the UN agencies based on recently signed MoUs, expedite the process of building modern villages and conduct regular briefings about steps taken on the safe return of Rohingyas in Rohingya camps on the Myanmar side, among others.

Osuga, also an assistant minister, also said the Japanese minister discussed the issue of next national election in Bangladesh. “Japan wants to see the next national election is conducted in a peaceful and democratic way,” he said.

The Japanese foreign minister further hoped that the situation related to student protests would be taken care of in a peaceful manner.

Ali briefed his Japanese counterpart in detail regarding this and said the situation was under control.

Kono explained Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and said this was for freedom of navigation and free movement as per the international maritime law. He said this would promote connectivity in the region and beyond.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy will also help countries for capacity building of maritime law enforcement and halting piracy and provide assistance to coastguard.

The Japanese minister is due to depart Dhaka in the early hours of today.

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