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Japan-Bangladesh E-Bulletin (12th issue / November 8th, 2004)
- Making a Bridge between Japan and Bangladesh -

[Table of Contents]

[1] Message from Ambassador Horiguchi
"ICDDR,B & Health Sector Reform"

[2] Upcoming Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations
* Japanese Traditional Drum Concert (Nov. 23, Dhaka)

[3] Recent Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations
* Bi-Annual Meeting on Development Cooperation (Oct. 27, Dhaka)

[4] Information
* Embassy Closed on the Event of Eid (Nov. 11-16)

[5] JBCCI Member Report
"Doing Business with Japan --- A Personal Perspective (Part 2)"

Mr. M.A. MOMEN (Managing Director, Toka Ink Bangladesh Ltd.)


[1] Message from Ambassador Horiguchi

"ICDDR,B & Health Sector Reform"

Transparency International issued a report saying Bangladesh was oneof the most corrupt countries in the world. This was the fourth yearin a row that the country has topped the global corruption rating.Although there is a room for arguing if Bangladesh is the worst, it isobvious that there are a number of problems in various sectors.

In the health sector, several common problems in public hospitals were pointed out, and the government urgently needs to undertake reforms to address these chronic problems.

In such a situation, ICDDR,B (Centre for Health and Population Research--former International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research,Bangladesh), which I visited the other day, may encourage the reformsin Bangladesh.

ICDDR,B was established in 1960 in Dhaka as Cholera Hospital inBangladesh. It made a fresh start as an international organization in 1978.

Oral Rehydration Saline (ORS), which was developed by ICDDR,B in the1960s, has become a handy remedy for diarrhoea throughout the world,and now saves over three million lives annually.

For this accomplishment, ICDDR,B was awarded the first ever 'Gates Award for Global Health' in May 2001.

The finest points of ICDDR,B are not only its world-class researchstandards, but its ability to cure 120,000 people annually, and trainup many doctors and other medical practitioners.

Through these "tripartite" activities, ICDDR,B develops the easiest and cheapest remedy for diarrhoea, and offers it to hospitals and clinics in all parts of Bangladesh.

As long as malnutrition situation is not improved, patients will come back to hospitals. Therefore, ICDDR,B also teaches mothers how to cook to get enough calories, mainly using vegetables, before leaving the hospital. ICDDR,B tries to spread this method all over the country.

Now ICDDR,B is coping with not only diarrhoea, but also reproductive health, family planning, dengue fever, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, nutrition, safe water, HIV/AIDS, etc. Moreover, it is handling problems related to the aged, violence, health for slum people, etc. It uses social sciences as research tools.

Dr. Sack, Executive Director of ICDDR,B, told me the key to thesuccess of ICDDR,B as a hospital, a research centre, and a trainingcentre. It was nothing but to especially make much account of ethicaland financial matters because mistakes related to these areas are notirrevocable.

Of course, devoted efforts of Dr. Sack and the other staff are the basis of this success.If ICDDR,B continues to teach improved health care methods andmanagement talents, and offers them to hospitals and clinics in allparts of Bangladesh, the health sector in this country will improve gradually.

(ICDDR,B Website)

(Ambassador's past messages are posted on the following website.)


[2] Upcoming Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations

* Japanese Traditional Drum Concert (Nov. 23, Dhaka) Japanese Drum Team "Haguruma" (Gear Wheel) will perform on November 23, 2004, at Osmani Memorial Hall.

Last year, the team showed their drum performance in Bangladesh for the first time, and it was well received by Bangladeshi people. For more information, please contact Cultural Section, Embassy of Japan.


[3] Recent Events on Japan-Bangladesh Relations

* Bi-Annual Meeting on Development Cooperation (Oct. 27, Dhaka)Japan-Bangladesh Bi-Annual Meeting on Development Cooperation was held on October 27, 2004, at the Economic Relations Division (ERD),Ministry of Finance.

At this meeting, Embassy of Japan, JICA, JBIC and the relevant Ministries and Agencies of the Government of Bangladesh including ERD discussed the following issues among others:

(1) Revision of Japan's Country Assistance Programme for Bangladesh,
(2) Response to the recent flood,
(3) Debt cancellation measures and utilization of counterpart fund,
(4) Follow-up of the Audit Report 2003.

Ambassador Horiguchi spoke at the opening session of the meeting.


[4] Information

* Embassy Closed on the Event of Eid (Nov. 11-16) Because of Shab-e-Qader and Eid-ul-Fitr, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh will be closed from Thursday, November 11 to Tuesday, November 16, 2004. Please contact us before or after this period.


[5] JBCCI Member Report

"Doing Business with Japan --- A Personal Perspective (Part 2)"
Mr. M.A. MOMEN (Managing Director, Toka Ink Bangladesh Ltd.)
(Mutual Likings and Admiration)

I have somehow never felt any problem adjusting to eating Japanese food or moving about whenever I visited my partners in Tokyo or elsewhere in Japan. Initially, language was a big barrier, but nowadays most young Japanese can speak conversational English. In Japan, my favourite food is tempura, teriyaki rice and other deliciously cooked fishes. Because of less spice, I have hardly had any stomach problems that are so common with us here in Bangladesh.

Surprisingly, unlike 10-15 years ago, our partners from Japan now findour food equally tasty, delicious and very sumptuous indeed. They love to eat our 'Katchi Biriyani' and often express their wonder as to how we can cook meat, potato and rice together at one go and make them boil up to the same degree of eating level with our mixed masalas.

As rice-eating nations, there are many other things in common betweenour two countries. The Japanese love our handicrafts and value ourfamily traditions. They admire our simplicity in life and praise us for our resilience in facing natural disasters and calamities. However, like us, some Japanese complain of the erosion of traditional values and cultural affinity from the younger generation due to the invasion of western influences.

Japan is the biggest donor to Bangladesh and it is with deep gratitude that we recall Japan to be among one of the foremost countries to recognize the independence of Bangladesh when it was liberated from Pakistan through a bloody war in 1971.

Japan continues to be our foremost friend in our social, economic and political fields. Whatever infrastructure Bangladesh has today, a great many are due to successive Japanese government's goodwill and initiatives.

In the field of industries, Japan has set a unique example in the world by supporting their Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow and prosper as feeder to its big Multi-national Companies (MNC). Thus, both SMEs and MNCs grew up side by side with a unique culture of blending and harmonization. The government's various policies remain consistent and always supportive to their cause. There are short-term, mid-term, and long-term plans for every national policy they embark upon. This is why Japan is regarded as a good and disciplined welfare state. Therefore, here is a lesson for Bangladesh to learn, adopt and implement.

(Lessons to be Learnt)

I now believe strongly that for any nation to grow and succeed, it is not anymore how you eat, think or react to situations. Nor is it the distance whether near or far, or whether we believe in the same religion, cast or creed that can help nations to grow. However, it is in the way that the people and its government practice democracy, handle law and order, and believe in patriotism, which ultimately bring peace, harmony, and success to the nation and its people. In between the process of good governance, consistent policies and creating a congenial business environment must be pursued upon.

As the famous saying goes, "Future will belong to those who will see the future before others see it." Rightly so, the Japanese saw the future in electronics, automobile, and ship-building, and they still continue to dominate these fields today. They saw the destruction and the negative impacts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and they remain away from all sorts of violence, war and destruction. They saw the future of gentleness, tolerance and kindness and they are the best at it today. I am indeed proud to be associated with Japan, the land of the rising sun!

(Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) Website)

(Toka Ink Bangladesh Ltd. Website)


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