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 Japan-Bangladesh E-Bulletin (49th Issue / Apr 27, 2006)
 - Making a Bridge between Japan and Bangladesh -
 This E-Bulletin is to share updated information and stories about
 Japan-Bangladesh relations with as many people as possible. If your friends
 are interested in subscription, please email us at mail@embjp.accesstel.net
 [Table of Contents]
 [1] Messages from Ambassador Horiguchi
 "For the Bright Future of Bangladesh"
 [2] Upcoming Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations
 * Ambassador Horiguchi's Annual Policy Speech (May 3, Dhaka)
 * Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (May 5, Dhaka)
 * Seminar "Psychology of Vision" (May 11-13, Dhaka)
 [3] Recent Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations
 * VARD Eye Hospital-cum-Health Center (Apr 25, Sunamgonj)
 * DPHE Central Laboratory for Water Quality Examination (Apr 18, Mohakhali)
 * 13th Special National Immunization Day (Apr 15, Dhaka)
 [4] Information
 * White Paper on Official Development Assistance (ODA) 2005
 [5] Special Essay "Hunger Free World, a Japanese NGO Working for Creating a
 Self-Reliant Bangladesh"
 (Md. Ataur Rahman, Country Director, Hunger Free World)
 [6] Editor's Note
 [1] Messages from Ambassador Horiguchi
 "For the Bright Future of Bangladesh"
 I am going to leave my post soon upon completion of my three-year assignment
 here. This is the 49th issue of the Embassy's E-Bulletin, which we
 initiated in June, 2004. I would like take this opportunity to express my
 sincere gratitude to both our Japanese and Bangladeshi readers for sharing
 their thoughts and insights on my messages.
 Soon after I arrived here three years ago, I was impressed with the high
 level analytical abilities of the Bangladeshi intellectuals and the high
 degree of freedom that press enjoys in this country. I often came across
 articles written by scholars and opinion leaders in analyzing problems and
 suggesting effective solutions.
 Later on, I noticed that those excellent suggestions had had little impact
 on government's policies though the local newspapers were bringing up them
 repeatedly. Some people told me that it was because the decision-making
 mechanism within the government and/or each political party was not always
 democratic or participatory, and therefore, did not easily adopt ideas from
 the outside. Others pointed out that intellectuals of this country were
 complacent about their status as an armchair critic, who had developed
 frustration over the current situation, and did not take a step forward to
 change the situation.
 These points of view make the suggestions put forward by Prof. Muhammad
 Yunus ground breaking as he called for a "Competent Candidate Movement" on
 February 4th, and consequently, a civic group was established with the aim
 of launching the movement in late March. This is remarkable in terms of the
 fact that the intellectuals of this country have taken an action for the
 first time though their strategy to select competent candidates has drawn
 some criticism. They can mobilize the collective wisdom to discuss effective
 tactics later on. It is important that they grow this movement to realize
 mid-and long-term political reforms, not confined to encouraging free and
 fair elections alone.
 I am very pleased to witness such a movement like this initiated by the
 intellectuals of Bangladesh. If not, I would probably have left this country
 with a wrong perception about them.
 Bangladesh has realized remarkable development for these three years. The
 growing private sector; the rising percentage of children's enrollment in
 primary education; bridging the gender gap; and development of
 communications infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and flyovers; are a
 few success stories. If the above-mentioned movement eliminates
 confrontational politics, which hinders the potential of Bangladesh from
 being unlocked, Bangladesh should achieve more development and will see the
 bright future ahead. I sincerely wish that the Bangladeshi people realize
 this future with their own hands.
 I intend to keep my eyes on the future of this country after my return to
 Japan. I may have an opportunity to see you in person somewhere, but today I
 would like to make my final remark by wishing you best health and spirit.
 (Past messages from Ambassador Horiguchi)
 (These messages were compiled in a single booklet.)
 [2] Upcoming Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations
 * Ambassador Horiguchi's Annual Policy Speech (May 3, Dhaka)
 Ambassador Horiguchi will make an annual policy speech "For the Bright
 Future of Bangladesh and Japan-Bangladesh Relations" at the National Press
 Club on Wednesday, May 4 at 5pm. He will discuss next steps that Japan and
 Bangladesh can take together in order to enhance bilateral relationship.
 The text of his last policy speech is available at the following website:
 * Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (May 5, Dhaka)
 The Japan Bangladesh Friendship Medical Services Ltd. Will organize the
 opening ceremony of the Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital Danmondi Branch
 at its premise on Friday, May 5 at 11am. Ambassador Horiguchi will attend
 the ceremony to celebrate the occasion.
 * Seminar "Psychology of Vision" (May 11-13, Dhaka)
 The Hunger Free World will organize a seminar "Psychology of Vision" from
 May 11 to 13. Ms. Hiromi Kurihara, a trainer and therapist visiting from
 Japan, will give a lecture. She is the President of Cocoro no Vitamin
 (vitamin for your heart), a non-profit organization, and author of numerous
 The purpose of this seminar is to promote healing and visionary leadership
 development in the Bangladeshi culture. It fosters understanding, conflict
 resolution, and a bridge between different cultures and provides a roadmap
 and tools to facilitate positive changes.
 Course time:
 Thursday, May 11: 5-8pm
 Friday & Saturday, May 12 & 13: 9am-7pm
 For more information, please contact the Hunger Free World.
 Tel: 812-1280, 01711-526979
 E-mail: vision2021@qmail.com
 [3] Recent Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations
 * VARD Eye Hospital-cum-Health Center (Apr 25, Sunamgonj)
 The opening ceremony of (Voluntary Association for Rural Development) VARD
 Eye Hospital-cum-Health Center was held on April 25 in Iabalnogar,
 Sunamgonj. This center was constructed with financial assistance from the
 Government of Japan and supported by Sights Saver International (SSI).
 Ambassador Horiguchi and other distinguished guests congratulated the
 The Government of Japan provided VARD with a grassroots assistance to
 construct the ground and the first floors of the Eye Hospital-cum-Health
 center. After the success of treating 50,000 patients since January 2003,
 Japan decided to grant 4.4 million taka to improve its facilities.
 Ambassador Horiguchi made the following speech:
 * DPHE Central Laboratory for Water Quality Examination (Apr 18, Mohakhali)
 The Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) Central Laboratory
 was inaugurated on April 18 at its premise in Mohakhali. Minister for LGRD
 and Cooperatives, H.E. Mr. Abdul Mannnan Bhuiyan, Ambassador Horiguchi, and
 other distinguished guests were present. The Laboratory aims at
 strengthening water quality examination system in Bangladesh.
 It was built under the Japan's Grant Assistance project for "Strengthening
 Water Quality Examination System of Bangladesh." The project also includes
 upgrading facilities of two laboratories in Jhenaida and Naoakhali and
 procurement of modern equipments at these laboratories.
 (Press release regarding the ceremony)
 * 13th Special National Immunization Day (Apr 15, Dhaka)
 The inaugural ceremony of the 13th Special National Immunization Day was
 held in the Clinic Room of EPI Bhaban on April 15. Minister for Health and
 Family Welfare, H.E. Dr. Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, MP, inaugurated the
 function, and Ambassador Horiguchi was present.
 The Government of Japan has provided about US$45 million to the Expanded
 Program of Immunization (EPI) with the aim of eradication polio in
 Bangladesh since 1996. In addition to medicine and financial assistance,
 Japan has provided technical and other supports through activities of Japan
 Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV). Currently, seven JOCVs are engaged
 in immunization work in Banlgadesh.
 Ambassador Horiguchi made the following speech:
 [4] Information
 * White Paper on Official Development Assistance (ODA) 2005
 "White Paper on Official Development Assistance (ODA) 2005" is now available
 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan's website.
 [5] Special Essay "Hunger Free World, a Japanese NGO Working for Creating a
 Self-Reliant Bangladesh"
 (Md. Ataur Rahman, Country Director, Hunger Free World)
 In spite of a great deal of progress achieved in Bangladesh, the country
 still has a serious challenge of hunger and poverty. According to the
 Bangladesh MDG Progress Report, the country has nearly 63 million poor
 people, the third largest number in the world after China and India, and one
 of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world.
 The proportion of underweight children in Bangladesh is 16 percent higher
 than 16 other Asian countries at similar levels of per capita GDP.  However,
 I believe that "Hunger and Poverty Free Bangladesh" is still possible.
 The Hunger Free World (HFW), a non profit Japanese organization, has been
 working in Bangladesh to help the local people to create a self-reliant
 future by themselves.
 Under the principle of "Creating Together, Working Together", HFW inspires
 and mobilizes the villagers and creates an environment in which they can
 create a sustainable future of their own. To reach the poorest among the
 poor, HFW is currently working in Rajshahi, which holds the highest poverty
 rate, Khulna and Dhaka divisions.
 HFW recognizes villagers as partners and lays much stress on their
 priorities and leadership. The foundation of HFW stands on the spirit of
 voluntarism. We strongly believe that a sustainable development can only be
 achieved through the people's own initiative. We have a big group of youth &
 women volunteers.
 Realizing hunger and poverty free Bangladesh by 2021 is our goal. The year
 of 2021 is the 50th anniversary of the independence. To achieve this goal,
 HFW has built two strategies, advocacy and project implementation at
 grassroots level.
 As a member of civil society, HFW is mostly funded by individuals from Japan
 and Bangladesh. Hundreds of Japanese including elementary school students
 are supporting our activities. They not only donate money but also take part
 in various cultural exchanges between the two nations. For example, Ms.
 Hiroko Kobayashi organized exhibitions in Japan displaying photos that she
 took in Bangladesh and then, donated the profits to help Bangladeshi girls
 to continue their education. There are many more examples of such good
 This year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan supported HFW to set up a
 "Center for Organic Farming" in Boda, Panchagarh to promote sustainable
 agriculture. The COF aims at demonstrating the benefit of organic farming
 and at enabling farmers to receive training.
 Japan has been the biggest Development Partner of Bangladesh since its
 independence.  Not only the Government of Japan but also the Japanese
 citizens are playing a great role in socio-economic development of
 Bangladesh. There are many Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV)
 and other volunteers are cooperating with Bangladeshi people.   Also,
 numerous Japanese NGO's are working all over the country.
 Unfortunately, there is no effective network among those individuals or
 organizations. HFW firmly believes that a network among Japanese NGOs,
 volunteers and other development partners should be greatly beneficial to
 all. Such a network will enhance the efficient and effective use of our
 resources. We need to work together to build sustainable foundation.
 Bangladesh was born thanks to the sacrifices of millions of souls in 1971.
 We wish that the second generation of freedom fighters will be able to end
 hunger and poverty by 2021 through working together and celebrate the Golden
 Jubilee of Independence. Let's extend our love and cooperation to beloved
 Bangladeshi people.
 Let me conclude this article with the comments made by H.E. Mr. Shin
 Sakurai, Member of the House of Councilors of Japan: "Creating a hunger free
 Bangladesh is possible, if politics can be driven towards achieving it and
 if this country can ensure the political commitment to it."
 (Hunger Free World)
 [6] Editor's Note
 I recently obtained two works of a Bangladeshi photographer. One of them
 captures a Bangladeshi woman doing her routine laundry in the river. Though
 the photographer's intention might be to show a painstaking duty that she
 has to go through everyday, the photo still expresses the beauty of her and
 the surrounding nature.
 Editor, Saori Nagase
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