PM embarks on 4-day Japan tour Saturday night

PM embarks on 4-day Japan tour Saturday night

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves here for Japan on Saturday midnight on a four-day official tour, which is expected to usher in a new horizon in the Bangladesh-Japan relationship. This will be also Hasina’s first bilateral visit to the country after assuming office for the second successive term through the January 5 election. This is Hasina’s third visit to Japan as Prime Minister. Japan, the largest bilateral development partner of Bangladesh, has been significantly contributing to the socioeconomic development of the country through financial assistance in sectors like poverty alleviation, physical infrastructure, power generation, human resources development. Sources at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the Prime Minister will visit Japan at the invitation of her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. During the visit, the Prime Minister would hold summit-level talks with her counterpart at the Prime Minister’s Office on May 26. The two prime ministers would later sign a joint statement which would be followed by a joint press announcement. Ahead of the tour, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Shiro Sadoshima on Wednesday said that Japan wants to see Bangladesh to take a ‘very serious’ look at the ‘East’ instead of concentrating only on the ‘West’ to make the best use of its potential for trade expansion in the global market. “We’ll try to impress her. Please, take a serious look towards the East. Because it’ll also satisfy your aspiration to diversify the base of your productions in the coming years,” he said. According to the tour schedule, the Prime Minister and her entourage will depart Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport by a VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines on Saturday midnight. After making a stopover for one and a half hours at the Hong Kong International Airport, the Prime Minister is expected to reach Haneda International Airport in Tokyo at 1:00 PM (local time) where she will be received by Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan and Chief of Protocol of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Shigeyuki Hiroki. From the airport, Hasina will be taken in a ceremonial motorcade to Akasaka Palace in Tokyo where she will be staying during her visit to Japan. Later, on Sunday evening, the friends of Bangladesh as well as former ambassadors of Japan to Bangladesh will meet the Prime Minister at her place of residence where she would address before them. On May 26, Hasina will spend a busy day beginning with a welcoming ceremony at her place of residence followed by receiving a Guard of Honour. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will call on Hasina at her place of residence. The members of Bangladesh-Japan parliamentary league will then meet the Prime Minister at the same place. After paying a visit to the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Hasina will spend some time as an audience with Akihito, Emperor of Japan. The Prime Minister will then go to the Prime Minister’s Office and will have summit-level talks with her counterpart, join the Joint Statement Signing Ceremony and the Joint Press Announcement. Later, the Bangladesh Prime Minister will attend a dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister of Japan in honour of her at the Prime Minister’s official residence. The following day (May 27), Hasina will visit the Waseda University and speak at the University as well as make interactions with some selected students. From there, she will go to Tokyo Kaikan and address at a luncheon ceremony to be hosted by Japan Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (JBCCEC). Hasina will then visit JETRO Headquarters and attend a Business Seminar to be organised by JBCCEC at JETRO Headquarters. On May 28, the Prime Minister will go to Japan Press Club and will make Interactions with Japanese journalists. She will then give an Interview to Japan’s national public broadcasting Organization, NHK at her place of residence. Later, in the afternoon, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and President of Japan-Bangladesh Parliamentary League Tarō Asō will met the Prime Minister at her place of residence before joining a Community Reception at Hotel Okura, Tokyo. The Prime Minster and her entourage members will depart Haneda International Airport for home on Wednesday night at about 11:45 PM by a VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines where she will be seen off by Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan and Shigeyuki Hiroki, Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. The Prime Minister is expected to reach Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on May 29 at 7:00 am. Japan has been the largest bilateral development partner of Bangladesh since independence till the last fiscal year as it provided a total of $ 7449.7 million foreign aid including $ 3350.1 million in grants and $ 4099.6 million in loans, according to ERD. Besides, the bilateral trade which was heavily tilted in favour of Japan in 2005-06 fiscal year now looks much more balanced. Bangladesh’s exports to Japan in 2005-06 fiscal year totalled $ 137.78 million against the imports of $ 649.31 million. The country’s exports to Japan in 2012-13 fiscal year totaled $ 750.26 million against the imports of $ 1168.7 million, as per the statistics of EPB and Bangladesh Bank. The major products that Bangladesh exported to Japan in 2012-13 included frozen food, agri-products, tea, chemical product, leather, raw jute, jute goods, knitwear and woven garments. – UNB

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