The government would take appropriate steps if any foreign diplomat crosses the line, said Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Monday (June 5, 2023). "There was such a phase six months ago. If it (crossing line) happens again, we will take steps taking that into cognisance. However, I am not aware of anything as of now," he said. Read more: ‘Undivided India’ map at new parliament: No reason for confusion, Dhaka waiting for official version from Delhi, says Shahriar Alam The State Minister made the remarks when a reporter drew his attention about Japanese Ambassador Iwama Kiminori’s visit to the Election Commission and his meeting with a political party. Read more: Exaggeration, inconsistency in Congressmen’s letter: Shahriar Alam Earlier, former Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki made comments on Bangladesh's last national election, and Bangladesh described Naoki's comments on Bangladesh's election "unexpected."
BNP senior leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury on Sunday (June 4, 2023) said the country’s people, not the Prime Minister, will decide whether they will go to the USA or not. “It is her (PM’s) personal matter whether she will go to any particular country or not. It’s also a matter of their decision whether the 17 crore people of Bangladesh will go to that country or not,” he said. Talking to reporters after a meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, Khosru also said the people of Bangladesh will decide whether they will go to the USA for their personal, business, professional, family and educational purposes. “The Prime Minister can’t take a decision in this regard,” Khosru, also the chairman of BNP’s foreign affairs committee, observed. Also read: Japan wants to understand what’s happening in Bangladesh and where it’s headed, BNP says as ambassador meets Fakhrul Earlier on Saturday (June 3, 2023), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said it does not matter at all if someone does not go to the USA crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a 20-hour- plane journey. “There are other oceans and other continents in the world and we’ll make friends with those continents crossing the other oceans. Our economy will be stronger and more developed and vibrant,” she added. The PM also said Bangladesh will run on its own feet and the government will build the country. “We will not be dependent on others, who will not give us visas, who will impose sanctions on us.” Meanwhile, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the Prime Minister is not worried about the US sanctions or visa restrictions but a neutral election. Read more: BNP’s complaints to foreign countries didn’t yield any results: Quader “The Prime Minister becomes ill and suffers from headache when any country talks about fair elections under a neutral caretaker government,” he said. Speaking at a food distribution programme arranged by Jatiyatabadi Tanti Dal’s Dhaka south city unit on the ground floor of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office marking party founder’s 42nd death anniversary, Rizvi said the Prime Minister said it matters little if anyone does not go to the USA. “Then why don't you keep your son in the country? Why do your sons and daughters live abroad? Why did you keep your son in the United States instead of any other friendly country of yours?” he questioned. He said Sheikh Hasina will not take any steps for holding a fair election and establishing a caretaker government as she considers the country’s people as her enemies. Read more: Govt to blame for US’s disrespectful visa policy: Fakhrul “If an impartial caretaker government is established, the people of the country will be able to vote freely and fairly. She knows people won’t ‘vote for her party. So, doesn’t want a neutral caretaker government to come,” the BNP leader said.
Japan wants to understand what’s happening in Bangladesh and where it’s headed, BNP says as ambassador meets Fakhrul
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori met BNP’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir today (June 4, 2023) and discussed Bangladesh’s next general election and the overall political situation. Talking to reporters after the meeting at the BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office, the party’s standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said that Japan, like other democratic countries, wants to see a free, fair, and acceptable election in Bangladesh. Read more: Govt to blame for US’s disrespectful visa policy: Fakhrul “Bangladesh’s relations with Japan expanded significantly since we started the free market economy during the BNP government. That is why they (Japan) want that relation to continue even if the government changes,” he said. Chowdhury, along with the party’s Organising Secretary Shama Obaid, was present at the meeting. They discussed the overall electoral system of Bangladesh and the current human rights situation, he said. Like other countries, Japan might have concerns about Bangladesh’s next election, human rights situation, rule of law, press freedom, and people’s security, the BNP leader said. “So, they want to understand what is happening in Bangladesh, what is going to happen in the future, and where is Bangladesh headed?” – he said. Read more: Movement to restore democracy going towards final stage rapidly: Fakhrul Chowdhury, also the foreign affairs committee chairman of BNP, said the Japanese envoy talked about his country’s investment in Bangladesh – both in the private and public sectors. He said they informed Iwama Kiminori about the country’s overall situation, but he declined to elaborate on it. The BNP leader said many countries are concerned about the investment atmosphere and the future of Bangladesh. “The situation we’re going through now has created apprehension among countries. So, they’re trying to understand how Bangladesh will be in the future and how the election will be.” Read more: ‘We’re taking plan according to road map prepared for national election,’ CEC tells Japanese Envoy Asked whether Japan will play any role in ensuring a peaceful and fair election in Bangladesh, Chowdhury said the democratic countries have already expressed their goodwill regarding the elections in Bangladesh. “Japan is no different. Everyone wants a free, fair, and acceptable election in Bangladesh.” He said the new Japanese ambassador has paid a courtesy call on the BNP secretary general. Stating that Bangladesh-Japan friendship is time-tested, the BNP leader said bilaterally, friendly relationship with Japan is above all. Read more: Japan eyes broader ties with Bangladesh under strategic partnership: Ambassador Kiminori
Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “far-sighted vision and political astuteness” Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said the completion of Padma Bridge demonstrates what Bangladesh can do for its economic development and stability. “Padma Bridge has been done on its own initiative and on its own funding. This is the bridge of national dream and pride. This bridge will truly fulfill the growth potential of Bangladesh,” he told a small group of journalists at his residence on Tuesday. The Japanese envoy said the year 2022 will be remembered by the world with so many examples of quality infrastructure including Padma Bridge inauguration on June 25 and partial inauguration of metro rail later this year. He said Japan will continue to cooperate with Bangladesh for its development and will stand by this country in its development journey until the day Bangladesh fulfills vision 2041 and realizes the vision of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build Sonar Bangla. Responding to a question, ambassador Naoki said their focus remains on a number of mega projects in Dhaka, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar in line with the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative for the construction of an industrial corridor. But, he added, for the sake of this industrial corridor’s (Dhaka, Ctg, Cox’s Bazar) better use, there should be better nationwide connectivity to see inclusive development. Naoki said the overall connectivity will be enhanced by the Padma Bridge and it will really vitalize the economy in Southern part of Bangladesh making rural economy vibrant. With this significant development, he said, the Padma Bridge will have an enormous economic impact. “Though Dhaka and Chattogram remain the main stage of the economy, rural economic development is important.” The envoy said he is quite sure that there will be opportunities for the Japanese private sector to look into business and investment opportunities even outside the BIG-B areas once this Padma Bridge becomes operational with enhanced connectivity in place. Recalling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Japan in 1996, Naoki said she made a request with the Japanese side for cooperation on two bridges – Padma Bridge and Rupsha Bridge. READ: Russia: Padma Bridge a true game changer
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has visited Bandarban to see development project there. He attended the handing over ceremony of the “The Project for Providing Bus Service for the Students and the Community Teachers in Bandarban District” to be implemented by JAAGO Foundation and supported by the government of Japan through the Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects (GGHSP). The project is expected to help improve the commuting environment for students and teachers, and provide access to education and continued learning in Bandarban. Read: Pursuing economic diplomacy to contribute to timely attainment of SDGs: FM Korvi Rakshand, Executive Director of JAAGO Foundation, volunteers of JAAGO Foundation and others also attended the ceremony. “I hope the school bus will help facilitate the access to education by students and teachers and help them go to school more safely and comfortably”, Ambassador Ito said.
Japan expects Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to pay an official visit to Japan in 2022, the year of 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, said Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki. On the auspicious occasion that falls on February 10, 2022, Bangladesh and Japan agreed to take their bilateral relations to the next level. The Japanese Ambassador highly appreciated the socio-economic development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and assured of continuing its support to Bangladesh. This was discussed when Japanese Ambassador Naiko met State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at his office on Thursday. Also read: Rohingya Repatriation: Japan to encourage Myanmar to take concrete measures The State Minister and the Ambassador expressed their satisfaction at the ever-expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries and agreed to organize befitting commemorative events both in Dhaka and Tokyo. Ambassador Naoki expressed that the inauguration of Metro Rail Line 6 in 2022 would be an appropriate event on the 50th anniversary. The Japanese envoy also highlighted that the Arihajar Special Economic Zone would see Japanese and international investment worth of US$ 1 billion beginning next year. Shahriar Alam thanked the Japanese government for their continued development assistance to Bangladesh and encouraged more Japanese private investment for the mutual benefits of the two countries. Alam appreciated the Japanese government for their continued support to the Rohingyas temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh and highlighted that their early repatriation is a must for the sake of stability and security in the region. He urged Japan to use her influence to persuade Myanmar and the international community to create a conducive environment in Myanmar for the safe and sustainable return of the Rohingyas. Also read: Dhaka-Tokyo ties growing beyond bilateral front: Japanese Vice Minister Ambassador Naoki reiterated the commitment of the Japanese government’s continued support for the safe and voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said Japan will keep working towards improving regional connectivity through infrastructure projects in the country. At the same time Tokyo will support Dhaka’s efforts at development and the stability, the ambassador said in a message marking two years as his country’s envoy in Bangladesh on Tuesday. "Japan will promote practical cooperation with Bangladesh to realize the vision of "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region," he said. Terming Japan the largest development partner of Bangladesh, the envoy said large-scale infrastructure projects that symbolize the country’s rapid economic growth are steadily underway. The flagship projects are Dhaka Metro, expansion of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Jamuna Railway Bridge, and Matarbari Deep Sea Port. A trial run of Dhaka Metro Line 6 began in August, which is expected to open by the end of 2022. "At the same time, we will redouble our efforts to improve the investment climate for Japanese companies as they expand their investment and their business. We will continue to address customs clearance, overseas remittance, import transaction settlement, and taxation challenges," said the ambassador. Read: Japan-Bangladesh focusing on infrastructure, business ties: Ito Naoki Resolving the issue of the Rohingya refugees is also crucial from the perspective of realizing FOIP, he said. "The recent situation in Myanmar since the coup last February has made the repatriation of refugees more difficult," said the envoy. As the crisis is protracted, he said, it is urgent to improve the condition of refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, including education, skill training, and livelihood. The envoy said they welcome the MoU recently signed between the government of Bangladesh and UN refugee agency to cooperate in the relocation plan of the refugees to Bashan Char Island. "Japan will work with the international community for humanitarian assistance and the repatriation of the displaced people," Naoki said. Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations next year Japan’s new Prime Minister Kishida Fumio wrote a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stating that he would strive to deepen cooperation between the two countries. Japan will work "vigorously" to deepen understanding of Japan further, expand people-to-people exchange and promote Japanese culture in Bangladesh, by holding the anniversary events in 2022, said the envoy. For the sake of the safety and security of Japanese people living in Bangladesh and visitors to Bangladesh, he said, the embassy will make every effort to build a better relationship between Japan and Bangladesh in all fields, while asking for your opinions and cooperation. Read: Ambassador Ito sees 5 challenges ahead to elevate Dhaka-Tokyo ties The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted economic activities and cultural and people’s exchanges between Japan and Bangladesh during the one and half years. "Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a year of deepening friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries," said the ambassador. From July to August, Japan provided more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine with Bangladesh. "The gift from the Japanese people was to meet the needs of the people of Bangladesh facing the threat of COVID-19 infection," said the ambassador adding that they will also continue their efforts to make the vaccination available further to Japanese citizens in Bangladesh.
Narrating the extraordinary tales of Bengali voyager Hariprabha Takeda, also revered as the 'first Bengali modern woman of Dhaka', a travel documentary titled "Hariprabha Takeda: an unsung traveller of Bengal" was screened on Saturday, 5 pm at the Liberation War Museum (LWM), Agargaon in the capital. Produced by traveller and documentary filmmaker Eliza Binte Elahi, the Rashik Barikdar directed documentary’s inaugural screening was joined by Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Ito Naoki as the chief guest. LWM trustee Mofidul Hoque and Dhaka University’s Department of History Bangabandhu Chair Professor Muntasir Mamun were also present at the inaugural screening as the special guests. Praising Eliza Binte Elahi’s effort behind producing the captivating story of the first Bengali modern woman of Dhaka, guests and audiences lauded the documentary film after its inaugural screening at the LWM auditorium. Read:Hasina seeks Japan’s support for early solution to Rohingya crisis “On behalf of our Embassy and all the Japanese people, I wholeheartedly thank Eliza for initiating the documentary, which must have faced difficulties in the making under this Covid situation. You have dealt with the subject which goes beyond the border for Bangladesh, so this is a cultural story regarding the cultural exchange between Japan and Bangladesh. I was really stunned while watching this documentary," ambassador Naoki said at the event. "I learned about the story of Hariprabha Takeda three months ago, when I attended the Cosmos Foundation’s virtual dialogue on "Bangladesh-Japan Relations: Prognosis for the Future" from renowned Bangladesh scholar Monzurul Huq, who really emphasized the significance of Hariprabha’s story, and the history of Japan and Bangladesh; the friendship and partnership between the two countries, and the people to people exchange. She was a really courageous woman, a pioneer who overcame the difficulties of her time. Though there are cultural similarities between Japan and Bangladesh (rice culture, fish eating culture etc) which might have helped her to get familiarized herself in Japan, nonetheless, her story is truly fascinating,” Naoki said at the event.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito has identified five challenges ahead that Bangladesh and Japan need to address together to elevate the solid partnership to a higher level with multifaceted greater cooperation as the two countries are set to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations in a big way next year. The five challenges, he said, are: to develop Bangladesh-Japan strategic partnership, make Bangladesh more attractive for business, expand people-to-people exchange, enhance cooperation with Bangladesh as a partner to realize Free and Open Indo-Pacific and strengthen efforts to increase Bangladesh’s stature in the region and beyond. “We need to move forward. I think our relations will naturally deepen in each of those agendas but we shouldn’t take it for granted,” Ambassador Ito said while delivering the keynote speech at a virtual dialogue that premiered on Sunday evening. Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue titled “Bangladesh-Japan Relations: Prognosis for the Future” as a part of its ongoing Ambassador’s Lecture Series. The opening remarks were delivered by the Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan. The session was chaired by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, renowned scholar-diplomat and former Advisor on Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Caretaker Government. Md Abul Kalam Azad, Special Envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum; Hayakawa Yuho, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh Office; Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Prof Masaaki Ohashi, Professor, University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo; Manzurul Huq, columnist, writer and academic; Prof Takahara Akio, Dean, Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo and Ambassador (Retd) Tariq A Karim, Honorary Advisor Emeritus, Cosmos Foundation comprised the panel of discussants. Ambassador Ito said the two countries should make “conscious and constant efforts” to continue to enjoy the current state of relationship and develop it even further. “We shouldn’t be complacent about ourselves.” He said the year 2022 will provide an excellent opportunity to elevate the partnership even to a higher level and wished that the two countries could call the partnership as “truly strategic partners”. Ambassador Ito who already spent 20 months in Bangladesh said the development of quality infrastructures and the strengthening of connectivity under the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth (BIG-B Initiative) will be beneficial not only to the development of Bangladesh but also to regional peace and stability. “Our leaders are really conscious that this BIG-B is important - not only for the development of Bangladesh but also for the stability of the entire Bay of Bengal region, beyond Bangladesh itself,” he said. Enayetullah Khan said even as Japan’s geo-strategic role and position grows in great strides, Japan has remained faithful in its commitments to Bangladesh that significantly contributed to Bangladesh’s current emergence as a development success story. “To me, it seems Bangladesh-Japan friendship is a function of not just mutual benefits, but mainly of pure fellow-feeling. From whichever perspective you view Bangladesh-Japan friendship, it’ll stand out in all weathers and seasons as does in 36 views of Mount Fuji in the famous paintings of HOKUSAI,” he said.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito has said Japan will seize the opportunity to find a “long-term and lasting solution” to the Rohingya crisis with the Myanmar side, noting that the issue is very relevant to the future stability of the entire region. “What we can say right now is Japan will seize the opportunity to raise this very, very important issue with the Myanmar side and its military now whenever appropriate,” he said. The Japanese envoy said his country will do its best to create an enabling environment for the early repatriation of Rohingyas and will continue to raise the issue with the Myanmar side whenever appropriate. He was responding to a question at a virtual dialogue titled “Bangladesh-Japan Relations: Prognosis for the Future” where he delivered the keynote speech. Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue as a part of its ongoing Ambassador’s Lecture Series. The opening remarks were delivered by the Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan. The session was chaired by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, renowned scholar-diplomat and former Advisor on Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Caretaker Government. Md Abul Kalam Azad, Special Envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum; Hayakawa Yuho, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh Office; Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Prof Masaaki Ohashi, Professor, University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo; Manzurul Huq, Columnist, writer and academic; Prof Takahara Akio, Dean, Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo and Ambassador (retd) Tariq A Karim, Honorary Advisor Emeritus, Cosmos Foundation comprised the panel of discussants. Also read: Ambassador Ito sees 5 challenges ahead to elevate Dhaka-Tokyo ties Ambassador Ito said humanitarian assistance and humanitarian crises are very much part of their vision when they talk about stability and peace of the region. He said it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen in Myanmar right now in light of the current situation in that country since the February 1 military coup with a complete standoff.