Ambassador's Message

Season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year.

It has been already 3 months since my arrival here as Ambassador of Japan last October. The series of high-level visits in 2019 further strengthened the bilateral relations between Japan and Bangladesh. Minister Motegi visited Bangladesh in January, Minister Kono in August, and Hon’ble Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Hasina visited Japan in May, also, Hon’ble President H.E. Md. Abdul Hamid in October for the Enthronement Ceremony of His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito in October.

The vibrant economy of Bangladesh is attracting higher interest of Japanese companies than ever. The amount of investment from Japan reached to USD 58 million in the year 2018, which increased by 88.8% from 2017. Last year, as of the end of November, we had 25 Japanese companies newly established their businesses in Bangladesh, making the total number of Japanese companies 305, and the number is growing.

The year 2019 was also momentous in terms of economic cooperation. Japan and Bangladesh signed the 40th Japanese Yen Loan, the largest ever package which adds up to 275.8 billion yen (USD 2.5 billion). It includes the “Big-B” (The Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt) Project and the Matarbari Port Development Project to enhance the quality infrastructure, as well as the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (so-called Dhaka Metro) to ease the traffic congestion in Dhaka area. Also last year, we had seen the successful completion of 3 bridges on Route 1, namely Shitalakshya Bridge, Second Meghna and Second Gumti Bridges which have enhanced the connectivity of Dhaka and Chittagong. Also, the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Expansion Project funded from the yen-loan package was launched last year. This project includes the construction of the Terminal 3, expansion of the existing cargo terminal, construction of multi-level car parking, and all leads to the improvement of the accessibility and efficiency of the airport.
I am pleased to mention that Japan is the single largest bilateral donor for Bangladesh, and Bangladesh is the second largest recipient of Japanese yen loan only after India.

Concerning the international relations, Bangladesh has been faced with an unprecedented influx of displaced persons crossing the border from Myanmar since 2017. The total number of the people living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar reached to more than a million. Japan highly commends the effort of the Government of Bangladesh to accommodate them, providing humanitarian support for them in cooperation with international communities. Japan will continue to support and work closely with Bangladesh and other countries/ international organizations to realize their early repatriation in a safe and voluntary manner.
Regional stability and rules-based international order are increasingly important for the sustainability of the steady economic growth of Bangladesh which has been achieved in recent years. At the bilateral Summit Meeting held last May, the two leaders of Japan and Bangladesh shared the ideas of ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ based on common values such as freedom, the rule of law and market economy. Based on this vision for prosperity, Japan will support the sustainable development of Bangladesh and promote quality infrastructure building in the region.

This new year marks as well the 100th birthday anniversary of "Bangabandhu" Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Further ahead, the 2021 is the 50th anniversary of national foundation of Bangladesh, and the 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations of Japan and Bangladesh. Through these milestones, I am determined to devote myself to strengthening further bilateral ties between our two nations.
It is also the year that Tokyo host Summer Olympic Games 2020. I am looking forward to seeing the Bangladeshi athletes to fully exert their ability. I would like to express my appreciation to the Toshima Ward in Tokyo, where “Boishakhi Mela” in Japan takes place every year, for supporting Bangladeshi athletes as the official Host Town of the Games.

Last but not least, I wish 2020 is going to be successful and prosperous year to all of you.

ITO Naoki
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh