Bangladesh and Japan have agreed to work together to tackle the Rohingya crisis and the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The consensus was reached when Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki called on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam MP at his office on Tuesday.

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They also discussed bilateral relations and issues of common concerns, said a foreign ministry statement.

Both sides recalled Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s groundbreaking visit to Japan in 1973 which laid the rock-solid foundation of the bilateral relations.

The state minister conveyed his deep appreciation for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s recent participation at the event celebrating Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh.

The two sides agreed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties in 2022 in a befitting manner.

Shahriar Alam thanked Japan for the Covid-19 related assistance.

He briefed the Japanese envoy on the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government to combat the pandemic and sought Japan’s support in continuing its fight. The ambassador assured the state minister of continued support.

Shahriar said in case the 1.1 million Rohingyas are denied the opportunity to return to their ancestral homes in Myanmar, the situation could have ramifications for regional and international security and stability.

He also urged Japan to use her influence to persuade Myanmar and the international community to create an environment conducive for the safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.

The ambassador reiterated Japan’s commitment to support Rohingya repatriation.

Shahriar Alam hoped that the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (Big-B) Initiative of Japan would accelerate cooperation for development of quality infrastructure and create more investment opportunities in Bangladesh. These, he added, would strengthen regional connectivity.

They also reviewed the progress of the Japan funded major development projects.

Recognising Bangladesh’s leadership role in the climate change discourse, the ambassador expressed the interest of Japanese investors in clean energy.

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