Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said that five Japan-funded mega projects, including Dhaka Metrorail, will be completed by 2025, which will ‘change the face’ of the South Asian country.
“Those are essential for the growth of Bangladesh fulfiling its potential, and will change the face of the nation once they are completed,” he said while speaking at a national day reception hosted to celebrate the 61st birthday of Japanese Emperor Naruhito in Dhaka on Tuesday.Despite the effects of the pandemic on economies and health systems, Bangladesh and Japan saw a stronger relationship in 2020 as the two peace-loving nations worked together for national and regional prosperity and stability, Ito said.
"Let us share the pain. Let us cooperate together. I look forward to a bright future ahead of us as we overcome the pandemic with patience," the envoy quoted the emperor as saying about the relations between the two countries.
Although the pandemic affected daily lives of all, the year 2020 saw further strengthening of relations between Japan and Bangladesh, he said, adding that Japan supported Bangladesh in its fight against the pandemic and provided for the first time, the budget support of approximately $330 million in August last year.
He also mentioned, “Last August I signed the largest ever annual yen-loan package of approximately US$ 3.2 billion for BIG-B's quality infrastructure projects.”
From this milestone year (2020) until 2025, Bangladesh will see completion of the JICA-supported mega projects. Dhaka MRT Line 6 will be partially open in December and then the Special Economic Zone in Araihazar, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Extension, Matarbari Deep Sea Port and Power Stations, and Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will start operating one after another, Naoki said.
“Those are essential for the growth of Bangladesh,” he said, adding that these will change the face of the nation.“Japan will continue to extend its support to Bangladesh's development as much as possible, bearing in mind it also leads to the overall stability and prosperity of the Bay of Bengal and Indo-Pacific region, which are conducive to realise our common vision of free an open Indo-Pacific,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Education Minister Dipu Moni said the role of Japan as a key development partner has been instrumental for Bangladesh and will be further developed.
“Now Bangladesh and Japan are working towards strategic partnership to reach even higher level of bilateral relationship,” she said.
Since 1972, Bangladesh has received largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan. Japanese contribution has been vital in the areas of infrastructure and human resource development, agriculture, education, water resource management and disaster management, Dipu Moni said.
“As trusted partners and peace-loving nations, we have always worked together and supported each other to promote global peace and prosperity,” the minister said, adding: “The cooperation from Japan is ever more crucial [for Bangladesh] to graduate to LDC status.”