"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Japan-Bangladesh Joint Press Statement - Strong Partnership towards Prosperity of the International Community and the South Asian Region -

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] July 14, 2005
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. H. E. Begum Khaleda Zia, the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, paid an official working visit to Japan from July 11, 2005 at the invitation of the Japanese Government.

2. H.E. Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister of Japan, and Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia held official talks on July 14, 2005. The talks were held in a friendly atmosphere. The two Prime Ministers had constructive dialogue on bilateral, regional and international issues and affirmed the importance of close and cooperative relations between the two countries.

Enhancement of Japan-Bangladesh Relations

3. Japan and Bangladesh have maintained and developed close and friendly relations in a wide range of fields. The cooperation between the two countries has been supported by sincere friendship between the two peoples.

4. Japan holds Bangladesh in high esteem for its efforts in overcoming various development difficulties and in nation-building under the leadership of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and also for making great efforts for regional and international peace and stability. The Japanese side expressed its appreciation for Bangladesh being a moderate country with a Muslim majority and for its commitment to democracy and respect for democratic values and practices. Japan also regards Bangladesh as a bridge between South Asia and East Asia and as a country which can play a significant role for steady development of Asia in future.

5. The Bangladesh side lauded Japan for advancing reforms under the leadership of Prime Minister Koizumi. Bangladesh deeply appreciates Japan's assistance in facing its developmental challenges. Bangladesh regards Japan as a reliable partner at all times and reiterated its position as a trusted friend of Japan. The Bangladesh side recognizes the importance of Japan in the pursuit of its "Look East" diplomacy.

6. Taking note of the creative dynamism in Asia and the close relationship between the two countries, the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Japan decided to collaborate in tackling the common challenges faced by the international community and build further cooperative relations on the following agenda:

Attainment of Development and Promotion of Trade and Investment

(i) Sustainable development is one of the most crucial issues facing the international community today. Bangladesh holds an important role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as one of the largest developing countries. Japan commends that Bangladesh, having overcome the difficult challenges in its immediate post independence period, has today reached higher social development indices compared to other developing countries at the equivalent economic level as Bangladesh. Japan praises Bangladesh for creating new development approaches such as micro-credit. Japan has consistently assisted Bangladesh's self-help efforts through putting in place core infrastructure such as roads, bridges and power plants; through social development initiatives including education and health; and through technical cooperation and promotion of human resources development in a wide range of fields. Bangladesh sincerely appreciates and highly values these contributions that Japan has been making for its development.

(ii) The Bangladeshi side requested Japan to extend its assistance to the construction of Padma Bridge. The Japanese side conveyed its intention to give due consideration.

(iii) Promoting trade and investment is indispensable for Bangladesh for its economic development. Bangladesh will further improve its existing investment and business environment through making use of the Export Processing Zones (EPZs).

(iv) The Bangladesh side heartily welcomes Japanese investments and assured all assistance and cooperation for their successful implementation.

(v) The Japanese side assures its continued assistance to Bangladesh's efforts through cooperation to improve infrastructure and other measures.

(vi) The two sides intend to continue their cooperation in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field including the development of ICT infrastructure and endeavor to create favorable environment for making business more active. Furthermore, the two sides enhance dialogue and cooperation among economic and business circles through the Japan-Bangladesh Joint Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (JBJCCEC), the Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI), and Japan Trade Fair 2005, to be held in Dhaka in September, and consolidate the foundation of economic relations between the two countries.

(vii) The two leaders welcomed that, during the Bangladeshi Prime Minister's visit, Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO) and the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment of Bangladesh had signed the Record of Discussion that will enable the people of Bangladesh to acquire training and technical expertise at private companies in Japan.

(viii) Improving governance is one of the main pillars in achieving development and promoting trade and investment in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh side expressed its commitment to its continuing efforts to promote good governance and stated its policies to further improve law and order, strengthening anti-corruption measures and enhancing administrative capacity.

(ix) The Japanese side, in cooperation with the Government of Bangladesh and other donor countries and agencies, will assist Bangladesh to improve governance including capacity building of its law enforcing agencies which Bangladesh is currently undertaking.

(x) Japan and Bangladesh reiterated their strong commitment to democracy. The Bangladesh side conveyed to the Japanese side its determination to hold the next general election in a free and fair manner as provided for in the Constitution of Bangladesh. Japan intends to support Bangladesh to realize this.

Cooperation at the United Nations and Other International Fora

(xi) The two leaders reaffirmed their unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in any form. The leaders, recognizing that the threat of terrorism remains a global security concern, reiterated their determination to address the threat posed by terrorists to the peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region.

(xii) The two leaders shared a recognition that comprehensive reform is necessary for the United Nations to effectively respond to the challenges of the 21st century. The two leaders confirmed that the two countries closely coordinate for this purpose and cooperate to realize various reforms. In this connection, the two leaders confirmed that they see a more representative UN Security Council as an important element in the wider UN reform process. Bangladesh reiterated its support for Japan's permanent membership in the Security Council. Japan welcomed Bangladesh's support. Japan also requested Bangladesh for its support for the Draft Framework Resolution on Security Council Reform. Bangladesh stated that it would give this request its due consideration.

(xiii) The two countries shared the recognition on the importance of international challenges including natural disaster reduction. The two sides intend to utilize their experiences and measures in tackling natural disasters such as earthquakes, tropical cyclones, tsunamis and floods and the management in the aftermath. The two countries continue to cooperate at international fora in promoting international cooperation in order to implement Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 which was adopted at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe January, 2005.

(xiv) As assistance for establishing the Tsunami Early Warning System in the Indian Ocean including Bangladesh, Japan has been implementing cooperative projects including training, provision of Tsunami Watch Information and education for tsunami disaster reduction. The two countries continue to strengthen their partnership through disaster reduction cooperation initiatives utilizing official development assistance (ODA), Asian Disaster Reduction Center and others in order to strengthen disaster reduction framework.

(xv) Furthermore, Japan decided to extend grant assistance for meteorological radars and other equipment for strengthening the tropical cyclone watch system in Bangladesh. The two countries held Exchange of Notes on this occasion.

(xvi) Japan believes that environmental protection and economic development can be simultaneously pursued. Japan continues implementing measures against global warming. Japan welcomes Bangladesh's environmental protection measures such as introducing vehicles operated by compressed natural gas (CNG).

(xvii) Bangladesh sends the second largest number of personnel to UN Peace-Keeping Operations (PKOs) and Japan's contribution to the UN PKO budget is the second largest in the world. The two countries recognize the importance of UN PKOs and expressed their commitment to continue their cooperation to PKOs.

Cooperation for Peace and Prosperity in the South Asian Region and Asia

(xviii) Prosperity and stability in the South Asian region are keys to realizing prosperity and stability in the whole of Asia. Japan lauded Bangladesh for its initiative to establish the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and for hosting the forthcoming 13th SAARC Summit in November 2005. Japan assists Bangladesh's efforts to promote regional cooperation through its support for the SAARC.

(xix) Japan recognizes that Bangladesh is positioned at a point of contact between South Asia and Southeast Asia and, as a member of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), it contributes to peace and security in the region.

(xx) The two leaders reconfirmed the importance of securing the safety of international marine traffic for the prosperity in Asia. Bangladesh confirms its intention to work towards concluding the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia at the earliest possible time.

(xxi) Japan expressed its support for Bangladesh's candidature to join the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Bangladesh deeply appreciated this show of support.

Enhancement of Exchange and Dialogue

(xxii) In order to add further momentum to cooperation as illustrated above, the two countries endeavor to enhance dialogues and exchanges in wide-ranging areas including exchanges among opinion leaders, think-tanks and parliament members. The two countries will continue to have high level policy consultations.

(xxiii) Japan has invited a great number of Bangladeshi youths under the schemes of the Japanese Government Scholarship, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS). Remarkably, Bangladeshi youth studying in Japan through the Japanese Government Scholarship reached 440, which is the biggest number in South Asia and the sixth largest across the world. These students and trainees, upon their return to Bangladesh, are playing active roles in wide areas and building a strong bridge between the two countries. Bangladesh will prepare the ground for them to take more active roles in nation-building upon their return including organizing an alumni association and other networks.

(xxiv) During the visit of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, the two countries signed the Cultural Exchange Programme between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, which aims to enhance cultural exchanges between the two countries in line with the Cultural Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, signed in 1982. Along with the programme, the two countries, at a time convenient to both, will host Japan Festival and Bangladesh Festival respectively as events to introduce their cultures.

(xxv) The two leaders noted that the visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to Japan had opened a new chapter of friendship and bilateral cooperation between the two countries and that it contributed to raise the level of existing bilateral relations to new heights.

(xxvi) Prime Minister Zia extended a warm and cordial invitation to Prime Minister Koizumi to visit Bangladesh. Prime Minister Koizumi accepted the invitation with appreciation.