WADA Ambassador Mitsuhiro said on Friday that Japan attaches immense importance to its relationship with Pakistan and is fully committed to further enhancing ties in all areas of mutual interest.
Speaking to a group of senior journalists, he said, “The relationship between Japan and Pakistan has been very close like ‘Deerina Dost’ and continues to spread through mutual cooperation based on common values like democracy, peace and sustainable development.” As Japan’s ambassador to Pakistan, “I assure you all that I am fully committed to further developing our long-standing friendship through various channels,” he said. The representative also said that both nations have supported each other and that this year Japan and Pakistan are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
“Our diplomatic relationship was established on April 28, 1952. Pakistan was one of the countries that welcomed Japan back into the international arena after World War II,” he recalled. He also said that Pakistan had helped Japan diplomatically by sending a delegation to participate in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. “Pakistan was the first country to start exporting cotton to Japan in the 1950s, which played an important role in Japan’s post-war reconstruction. Japan processed raw cotton from Pakistan into yarn and cloth. Japan, on the other hand, exported machinery such as spindles to Pakistan. In this way, we have helped each other, especially in the textile sector,” added the representative.
WADA Mitsuhiro said that in the first decade after Pakistan’s independence, a number of Japanese business offices were established in Karachi, mainly for commercial purposes.
The ambassador said: “Today, we continue to go the extra mile to promote business relations. We are working towards a more business-friendly environment for the activities of foreign companies in Pakistan, which will surely lead to mutual economic benefits.” Regarding Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), he said, Pakistan was one of the first countries, which Japan started giving in 1954. He said Japan remained one of its main bilateral partners development for Pakistan since 1954, extending assistance. in sectors with several facets of socio-economic development. The ambassador said the total value of assistance amounted to $11.7 billion, while 7,273 trainees were accepted from Pakistan as of January 2022.
Japan’s assistance, he said, includes concessional loans, grant assistance and technical cooperation. He said most of the aid was used to support infrastructure and social development, including assistance in road creation, power generation, transport, distribution, water, sanitation, agriculture, education, health, security, disaster management, climate change and development human resources. “Kohat Tunnel, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), construction of steel bridges near Fort Munro connecting southern Punjab to Balochistan via N-70, Indus Highway, weather forecasting and surveillance radar system are some examples of assistance Japanese,” he added.
The envoy said polio eradication is one of the focus areas of Japanese assistance. Since 1996, the government of Japan along with other partners has consistently helped Pakistan to eliminate this disease.
The video was also shown to the media regarding the functioning of JICA in Pakistan. “The video you are watching on the screen today is called ‘Weave Your Dreams’, which shows JICA’s work to support women’s empowerment through technical training. You will watch the success stories of female graduates from three garment training institutes in Faisalabad and Lahore,” he added.
As a reliable partner, he said, Japan has tirelessly supported Pakistan at the time of the devastating earthquake in 2005, the nationwide floods in 2010 and 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic or the locust invasion. “Japan is always with Pakistan as ‘Deerenah Dost’,” he added.
He said that the Government of Japan has also provided academic scholarships to Pakistani students every year for higher studies in Japan. “This academic scholarship started in 1963 in Pakistan and so far 820 graduates (470 embassy recommended scholarships and 350 direct scholarships) have successfully completed their degrees in Japan. This scholarship is very popular and competitive due to the good academic environment of Japanese universities as well as its fully funded program,” he said. He said that Japan also offered professional training courses such as the Teacher Training Course as well as the Young Leaders Program for government officials to provide an opportunity to learn modern knowledge and advanced skills in Japan. In 2018, he said, Japan also started another human resource development scholarship called JDS, which is exclusively for young Pakistani civil servants to pursue higher education in top Japanese universities with the aim of nation building for Pakistan . The ambassador said that people-to-people exchanges are the foundation of friendship between two countries from a long-term perspective. In this regard, “I actively support events and programs that encourage further interactions and deepen mutual understanding.” This year, the Pakistani military band, he said, participated in the annual grand concert organized by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Japan.