Expectations For Japan’s Newly Appointed Ambassador To Bangladesh, Iwama Kiminori – OpEd


In the last 50 years, the Bangladesh and Japan have been able to form an exemplary relationship defined with mutual trust, respect, affinity and cooperation. The official relation between the two countries was established on February 10, 1972, with the recognition of Bangladesh by Japan. The Japanese embassy in Dhaka and the Bangladesh embassy in Tokyo were opened in March and July 1972 respectively. Then, Japan, Bangladesh ties are booming day by day. 

Iwama Kiminori is the newly appointed ambassador of Japan in Dhaka. The Japanese Embassy in Dhaka said that the newly appointed ambassador of Japan has presented his identity card to President Abdul Hamid. The previous ambassador of Japan called on President M Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban on December 8. The President’s press secretary Zainal Abedin said, a smart team of the President’s Guard Regiment (PGR) gave a guard of honor to Iwama Kiminori on reaching Bangabhaban.

During the meeting, the President said that Japan is Bangladesh’s single largest bilateral development partner and an important country for trade and investment. The President thanked the Japanese government for providing technical and financial support in the implementation of the Metrorail project.

Highlighting Japan’s cooperation in Bangladesh’s socio-economic development, the President hoped, “During the tenure of the new ambassador, trade and investment between Bangladesh and Japan will expand further and bilateral relations will reach new heights.”

During the meeting, the new ambassador of Japan sought the cooperation of the President in fulfilling his duties. He also expressed his conviction to work for the development of relations between the two countries.

Strengthening comprehensive bilateral ties

To give the bilateral ties a positive direction and establish a strong rapport with Bangladesh, previous Ambassador accomplished an outstanding job. Bangladesh does, however, also anticipate that the momentum of the Bangladesh-Japan relationship would continue thriving further in the days to come. The new Japanese ambassador in Dhaka is expected to comprehend Bangladesh from his own perspective. 

The new envoy has numerous opportunities to improve current bilateral ties. In 2026, Bangladesh is expected to leave the Least Developed Country (LDC) category. Bangladesh’s access to various LDC-specific preferential treatments and facilities will be restricted as a result, which will negatively affect its exports to European and North American markets, particularly those of RMG. The new ambassador could support Bangladesh in this area by offering technical assistance in formulating policies and export-development strategies that would enable Bangladeshi products to enter the Japanese market to meet its post-graduation hurdles.

Bangladesh needs more Japanese investment

The Japanese businessmen can make larger investment in Bangladesh. “Bangladesh is a lucrative place for investment. Japanese private companies can invest in Bangladesh on larger scale. The new Japanese can pave the way in a new horizon. He can strengthen the bilateral ties for ensuring better mutual interest. 

Bangladesh expects increased FDI from Japan to help the economy of the nation. The Japanese investments will greatly assist the Bangladeshi government by energizing economic activity, generating employment, boosting assets, and improving people’s quality of life through the development of infrastructure. The new ambassador must be aware of Bangladesh’s development priorities and work closely with that nation.

Advanced studies and enhanced cooperation are required in order to Bangladesh-Japan FTA, the new envoy can play a crucial role in these areas. Bangladesh and Japan have primarily agreed on signing a free trade agreement (FTA) to increase trade and investment,

PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone known as the Japanese Economic Zone in Narayanganj’s Araihazar Upazila on Tuesday (December 6). On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan, the establishment of the Japanese Special Economic Zone in Narayanganj on the basis of a government-to-government agreement can be considered a turning point for the growth and advancement of the nation’s economy. 

The population of 25,000 and the nearby area are unsurprisingly enthusiastic and motivated. Since it will bring them luck, that is. There will be no more poverty. Bangladesh is the best investment destination in the world, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina correctly stated during the ceremonial opening speech. due to Bangladesh’s favorable geographic location, communication infrastructure, and access to ports and the sea, which allows it to be a market for 300 million people in South Asia.

When the zone is fully operating, the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) anticipates $1.5 billion in investments and employment for close to one lakh people. “The economic zone will make it easier for Bangladesh and Japan to share technologies. 

Japanese businessmen are interested in investing in this economic zone to expand their businesses in Bangladesh, according to data from the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (BSEZ). This new economic zone would be environmentally benign. Several businesses will begin producing their products here before the end of the next year.” Any domestic or international business may invest in this zone. 30 Japanese corporations are among the 40 foreign businesses that have already expressed interest in investing here.

The Japanese government has offered a second round of subsidies to help businesspeople relocate their manufacturing from China to Bangladesh. It should be recalled that the Japanese government previously provided incentives to help 87 companies move their factories out of China. In addition, Japan has agreed to employ hundreds of thousands of talented people from Bangladesh in at least 15 industries over the course of the next five years. However, they must be conversant in that nation’s language. This also signaled the start of Japanese investment, industry transfer, and the migration of skilled laborers to Bangladesh.

However, creating industries alone will not enough. The increase of trade and intertrade requires a good internal and external road communication network with adequate infrastructure. The Bangladeshi government has also given that the proper consideration and importance. Trade and inter-road contact have already begun with India, Nepal, and Bhutan. A recent decision was made to spend 3.5 billion Taka to build a 56 km, four-lane motorway between Sylhet and Tamabil. The establishment of a regional road connectivity network involving at least six nations by the year 2025 will boost trade and business.

Bangladesh is receiving a steadily rising amount of foreign investment. Last Tuesday, the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (also known as the Japanese Economic Zone in Bangladesh) was established (December 06). 30 Japanese businesses and 10 foreign businesses have already expressed interest in investing here. An investment contract was made between German business Rudolph and the well-known Singer.

Investment in the amount of 150 crores or 15,000 crores has been guaranteed. In the interim, activity has begun in other nations’ special economic zones, including India and Korea. With Japan’s help, Cox’s Bazar’s Matarbari is developing a power center, deep sea port, and other facilities. The jointly designed Payra power plant with China has begun operating. With the assistance of India, Rampal Power Plant manufacturing will shortly begin. The construction of the nuclear power plant with Russian assistance could begin in 2023. Operations at the Payra port are progressing. With the opening of the Padma Bridge, the southern region’s commercial potential has multiplied. The Karnaphuli River’s Bangabandhu Tunnel has been partially opened. Overall, the nation has finally established a favorable environment for investment. Political stability has also led to a tremendous rise in both local and foreign investment.

Japan and Mega projects

Japan is the largest bilateral development partner of Bangladesh. It has provided about $27 billion in grants and loans to Bangladesh since 1971. Japan is currently implementing some of the major infrastructure projects. Among these, Bangladesh has signed agreements with Japan for several other projects including Matarbari and Seaport Development Project, Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Line-1. Work on several projects has already begun. Notable among them is the construction of a 1200 MW power project in Cox’s Bazar area with the help of Japan. In addition to these, there are indications that a number of larger investments have been made by Japan.

As a potential hub of the regional economy, Matarbari Port would connect South Asia and South-East Asia. In other words, it could re-shape Bangladesh as a trading nation deeply incorporated in the inter-regional and global value chains.

The authorities are completing the last-minute preparations before the grand opening of the country’s first metro rail on December 29. Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Iwama Kiminori and Jica chief in Dhaka Ichiguchi Tomohide are expected to present. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the metro rail at the playground of sector-15 (C-1 Block) in the capital’s Uttara at 11:00am by unveiling a plaque, according to sources in the road transport and highways division.

Rohingya issue

Japan is one of Bangladesh’s and Myanmar’s most reliable and successful development partners. But in the Rohingya crisis, Japan initially chose to keep quiet before deciding to act as a mediator to find a solution. But Bangladesh sought a substantial item from Japan. If Japan has any geopolitical interest in Myanmar, then it should have spoken out strongly against the abuse of human rights and other horrors occurring in Rakhine state. Japan promotes itself as a country that is “value-driven” internationally. Because Myanmar is desperate for investment, Bangladesh should coordinate closely with Japan to find a proactive solution to the dilemma. Bangladesh may also consider extending some of its ideas to FDI in Myanmar.

Japan, the foremost liberal democracy in Asia and a steadfast ally of Bangladesh on all fronts—strategic, economic, and humanitarian—had mostly been silent on the Rohingya problem. In the past, Japan has given Bangladesh financial support to help the refugees. Now Japan, after USA, would like to resettle some Rohingyas. This initiative can usher the Rohingya crisis solution in terms of ‘Third Country resettlement’. International community can follow the US, Japan’s footprint.

Now, in accordance with its own peace-centric constitution (article-9), Japan must take a firm stand for justice and human rights on all international platforms on matters like the Rohingya crisis. The wise words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” must be kept in mind.

Non-interference in Bangladesh’s internal affairs

Former Japanese Ambassador’s Comment on Bangladesh’s Internal Affairs Shocked Countrymen. The Bangladesh Police Service Association has protested a recent statement by the Japanese Ambassador to Dhaka, Ito Naoki. Japan is our development partner. The Japan-Bangladesh ties are eternal. Bangladeshi people like Japan.

The ambassadors of America, Britain, and Canada talk directly about the internal affairs of Bangladesh, but the Japanese ambassador does not. So why is this an exception? We don’t know the inside news. However, the Japanese ambassador’s statement has created quite a stir in the urban political circles of the country. Bangladesh people are very shocked for the comments uttered by the Japanese Ambassadors. The expectations of Bangladeshi people from all our development partners including their representatives in Dhaka not to interfere in our own internal affairs. As they should respect our own values, choices.

Promoting Japan-Bangladesh ties to a new height

Along with upholding international diplomatic standards, the ambassador is also expected to expedite ties in the fields of technology, renewable energy, and educational scholarships. There are certain areas where the relationship between the two nations needs to be improved, including trade trips, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people connections. Without a doubt, the envoy’s friendly efforts will have a significant impact on whether all of these goals are realized. Bangladesh, therefore, a seasoned and competent diplomat who will “elevate” the two nations’ relationship to a “new height”.

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