Japan fully committed to further improving ties in all areas of mutual interest

Japan fully committed to further ties in all areas of mutual interest: Ambassador WADA Mitsuhiro

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): Ambassador WADA Mitsuhiro on Friday said that Japan attached immense importance to its relationship with Pakistan and is fully committed to further improving ties in all areas of mutual interest.

Talking to a group of senior journalists, he said, “The relationship between Japan and Pakistan has been very close as “Deerina Dost” and continues to spread through mutual cooperation based on shared values such as democracy, peace and sustainable development.”

As the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, “I assure you all that I am fully committed to further developing our long-standing friendship through various channels” he said.

The envoy further said that both nations have supported each other and that this year Japan and Pakistan are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

“Our diplomatic relation was established on April 28 in 1952. Pakistan was one of the countries which welcomed Japan back to the international arena after World War II” he recalled.

He further said that Pakistan helped Japan diplomatically by sending a delegation to participate in San Francisco Peace Treaty.

“Pakistan was the first country that started to export cotton to Japan in the 1950s, which played an important role in the Japanese post-war reconstruction. Japan processed raw cotton from Pakistan into yarn and cloth. Japan on the other hand exported machinery such as spindles to Pakistan. In this way, we helped each other, particularly in the textile sector” the envoy added.

WADA Mitsuhiro said that during the first decade after Pakistan’s independence, a number of Japanese business offices were set up in Karachi mainly for trading purposes.

The ambassador said, “Today, we continue to make further efforts to promote the business relationships. We are working for a more business-friendly environment for activities of foreign companies in Pakistan, which will surely lead to mutual economic benefits.”

As for the Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan, he said, Pakistan was one of the first countries, which Japan started to provide in 1954.

He said that Japan remained one of its major bilateral development partners to Pakistan since 1954, extending assistance in multifaceted sectors of socio-economic development.

The ambassador said the total value of assistance has amounted to $11.7 billion while 7,273 trainees have been accepted from Pakistan as of January 2022.

Japan’s assistance, he said, included concessional loans, grant assistance, and technical cooperation. He said most aid has been utilized for supporting infrastructure, and social development, including assistance in creating roads, power generation, transmission, distribution, water, sanitation, agriculture, education, health, security, disaster management, climate change and human resources development.

“The Kohat tunnel, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the construction of steel bridges near Fort Munro which connects Southern Punjab to Balochistan via N-70, Indus Highway, Weather Forecasting and Surveillance Radar System are a few examples of Japanese assistance” he added.

The envoy said polio eradication is one of the focused areas of Japanese assistance. Since 1996, the Government of Japan together with other partners has been consistently assisting Pakistan to eliminate this disease.

The video was also shown to the media regarding the working of JICA in Pakistan. “The video you are watching on the screen today is called “Weave Your Dreams” which is showing JICA’s activity to support women’s empowerment through technical training. You will watch the success stories of female graduates from three garment-related vocational training institutes in Faisalabad and Lahore” he added.

As a trusted partner, he said, Japan has tirelessly supported Pakistan at the time of the devastating earthquake in 2005, countrywide floods in 2010 and 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic or Locust invasion. “Japan is always standing by Pakistan as “Deerenah Dost” he added.

He said, that the Government of Japan also offered academic scholarships to Pakistani students every year for higher studies in Japan.

“This academic scholarship started in 1963 in Pakistan and so far 820 graduates (470 Embassy-recommended scholarships and 350 direct scholarships) have successfully completed their degrees from Japan. This scholarship is very popular and competitive due to the good academic environment of Japanese universities as well as its fully funded program” he said.

He said that Japan had also offered professional training courses such as the Teachers Training Course as well as the Young Leaders Program for Government officers, aiming to provide an opportunity to learn modern knowledge and advanced skills in Japan.

In 2018, he said, Japan also started another human resource development scholarship called JDS, which is exclusively for young Pakistani civil servants to acquire higher education in top Japanese universities with the purpose of nation-building for Pakistan.

The ambassador said People-to-people exchanges are the foundation of two countries’ friendship from a long-term perspective. In this regard, “I actively support events and programs which encourage further interactions and deepen mutual understanding.”

This year Pakistani military musical band, he said, participated in the annual grand concert organized by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Japan.