Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Japan is time-tested friend of Bangladesh: PM Hasina

Japan is time-tested friend of Bangladesh: PM Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana are seen at Akasaka Palace Guest House in Tokyo with Japanese nationals who are honoured with ‘Friends of Liberation War Honour’ for their great contribution to the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.- PID

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday expressed her firm belief that Japan will always stand by Bangladesh in building 'Sonar Bangla', the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and turn it into a land of opportunity.

“We are confident that Japan will be on our side as it had been in the past. I am also confident that the people of Japan will always be on our side besides their government as they did in our need in the past,” she said.

The prime minister said this while speaking at a ceremony for conferring “Friends of Liberation War Honour” to four Japanese nationals at Akasaka Palace Guest House in Tokyo for their great contribution to the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.

She hoped that the lasting friendship and enviable partnership over the past fifty years will be carried forward by the new generation in the years to come. “We never forget our friends,” she said.

Hasina acknowledged the sustained economic cooperation and support of Japan in the country's socio-economic pursuit which assisted it to become a developing country graduating from LDC status.

“We have dedicated ourselves to the dream of Bangabandhu of a true Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) and to turn Bangladesh into a land of opportunity,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the people of Japan stood beside the suffering humanity of Bangladesh during its Independence War.

She mentioned that Bangladesh had a modest list of 8 honourees whom it had honoured with ‘Friends of Liberation War Honour’ on March 27, 2012 and October 1, 2013.

“This evening we are in Tokyo to honour four more great friends of Bangladesh who stood by us, organised the moral and material support and ensured assistance," she said.

She recalled with deep gratitude the support of the people of Japan which reconfirmed that the cause was right and could not be trampled.

“You heard our yearning for justice, honour, dignity and human rights. Your voice added strength to our voice and was magnified to the global community. You rallied with our cause and together raised a human citadel against a ruthless force. In the land of the rising sun, we see the image of a nation with dignity and humanity.”

She mentioned that people of Japan rose to protest atrocities and sent humanitarian reliefs, medical facilities to the helpless people of Bangladesh.

“It was a period of sorrow which cannot be expressed in mere words. Our country was ravaged by the occupying forces.”

At that critical moment, she said, Japanese friends understood our plight and went forward for the cause of humanity. They faced great challenges, but did not fall back.

“Their act of selflessness rekindled our spirit in the face of threats. Most unforgettable was the charitable gesture of Japanese school children who saved and donated their Tiffin money to help our people," she said.

The PM said the bilateral relation between Bangladesh and Japan is based on mutual trust, respect, friendship and cooperation.

She also said the historic visit Bangabandhu to Japan in October 1973, laid the foundation of a steadfast and lasting friendship.

“For me, it is an honour to carry on my father’s legacy and visit Japan in 1997, 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2019 to further strengthen our relations. I am happy today that during my tenure, our time-tested friendship has evolved in depth and dimension from a “Comprehensive Partnership” to a “Strategic Partnership.”

She said Bangladesh and Japan share the same noble ideas and principles of equality, democracy and democratic practice, inclusive development, social justice and rule of law.

Sheikh Rehana, the youngest daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was present.

In the function, "the Friends of Liberation War Honour" were conferred to Late political leaders Hideo Takano, late journalist Taizo Ichinose, Former IFRC president Tadateru Konoe and Professor Gyalpo Pema.