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Thursday, August 21, 2014, Bhadra 6, 1421, Shawal 24, 1435 Hijr

Advance Japan team meets Hasina today for finalisation
Saleem Samad
Publish Date : 2014-08-21,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 186
A high profile Japanese delegation will hold a review meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (Thursday) to finalise the state visit of Japanese PM to Bangladesh, official sources said on Wednesday.
The 28-member Japanese delegation led by Norihiko Ishiguro, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, is due to arrive Dhaka this morning and meet  Bangladesh's head of government at her office to hold the first review meeting on "Japan - Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership" initiative.
The delegation will return to Japan on Friday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make a two-day state visit to Bangladesh on September 6-7. The state visit is expected to be finalised next week.
Meanwhile, another advance team led by Japanese Foreign Ministry Director Hanajiri Takashi is already in Dhaka to finalise Abe's state visit.
The team held series of parleys with Bangladesh officials concerned regarding security for the state guest and his entourage, tentative programmes, venues for the events, accommodation for both Shinzo Abe and his official entourage.
The review meeting is in line with the Joint Statement signed by Hasina with her counterpart in Tokyo on May 26 this year. The two Prime Ministers decided to strengthen policy dialogue in carrying out cooperation for development. The two countries shared their intention to closely collaborate and cooperate in project formulation and implementation.
An official of the East Asia and Pacific Wing, Foreign Ministry said the Japanese PM will visit to reiterate Japanese cooperation and collaboration with Bangladesh for mutual benefit, which has been outlined in the Joint Statement.
A similar Joint Statement will be issued at the end of the two-day visit, which would be an official document for bilateral cooperation. "Japanese diplomatic culture does not practice separate agreements or protocols for each economic, cultural and scientific cooperations," the official at Dhaka foreign office remarked.
Japan-Bangladesh Comprehen-sive Partnership is envisaged to oversee different projects under the $6 billion credit committed as part of Japan's overseas development assistance (ODA), the official said.
Under the package, Japan will provide Bangladesh 120 billion yen (around $1.18 billion) on easy terms to build a 1,200-megawatt power plant at Maheskhali in Cox's Bazar. The Japan-Bangladesh forum delegation is expected to identify, formulate, manage and monitor the projects.
At the meeting, the delegation is supposed to discuss the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative that was proposed by Tokyo during Hasina's Tokyo visit last May.
The credit will be used in the next 4-5 years to implement different projects. Japan wants a joint platform to shepherd the projects.
Japan has agreed with Hasina's expectation for construction of Ganges Barrage, a multi-modal tunnel under the river Jamuna, dedicated Railway Bridge over the river Jamuna, multi-modal Dhaka Eastern Bypass and ecological restoration of four rivers around Dhaka city.
Describing the reason to hold the review meeting with Prime Minister Hasina, the Foreign Office official said the external trade and investment agencies like Board of Investment, Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority are under the jurisdiction of PMO.
It is imperative that the Japanese are keen to ensure an  investment-friendly climate for their entrepreneurs. The Japanese investors and officials are shaky about bureaucratic bottlenecks, including delays in implementing projects.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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