Japan-Bangladesh Summit Meeting

August 19, 2000
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On August 19, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh at the Prime Minister's Office. The meeting, which lasted from 15:20 to 16:40, is summarized below.

1. Bilateral Relations

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina invited the Emperor and Empress to visit Bangladesh in 2002 to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bangladesh. Prime Minister Mori said that he would formally convey the invitation to Their Majesties. The two leaders also confirmed that they would cooperate in the arrangement of commemorative events in 2002. Prime Minister Hasina expressed a wish for regular bilateral consultations between Japan and Bangladesh, to which Prime Minister Mori replied that he would like to arrange a mutually convenient time for a second round of high-level talks between the two countries.

Prime Minister Mori invited Prime Minister Hasina to visit Japan at a suitable time in 2001. Prime Minister Hasina thanked Prime Minister Mori for the invitation and said arrangements for her visit to Japan will be made through diplomatic channels. She also expressed the wish that Prime Minister Mori would be able to spend more time in Bangladesh on his next visit.

2. Economic Cooperation

Prime Minister Hasina expressed her gratitude for Japan's contribution as the largest provider of official development assistance to Bangladesh. She also formally thanked Prime Minister Mori for the Japanese government's decision to provide cultural grant aid in the form of sports equipment, in addition to ODA loans totalling approximately 16 billion yen for four projects, including the Rupsha Bridge. Prime Minister Hasina further asked Prime Minister Mori to give positive consideration to other projects, namely the Padma Bridge, the Dhaka Eastern Embankment and Bypass Road, and the Ganges Barrage, as fitting commemorative initiatives for the anniversary in 2002. Prime Minister Mori replied that Japan would continue to provide assistance under its bilateral aid plans and that it would give priority to cooperation in areas that would contribute to the alleviation of poverty, especially agriculture, infrastructure development, and disaster prevention. He further stated that favorable consideration would be given to a development survey relating to the Padma Bridge

3. Exchange between Japan and South Asia

Prime Minister Mori emphasized the importance of youth exchange programs between Japan and South Asia. He said that 5,000 young people, including high school students, would be invited to Japan over a five-year period. Prime Minister Mori further announced the establishment of a Japan-South Asia exchange program, the aims of which include the expansion of Japanese language education in the region and the promotion of intellectual exchange between Japan and South Asia. He also revealed that scholars and artists would be invited to Japan under the so called Mori Fellowship, to be established as part of this program. Prime Minister Hasina expressed her appreciation for these initiatives and pledged her cooperation with them.

4. The Situation in South Asia

Prime Minister Hasina referred to relations with India and Pakistan. She said that she visited both countries after their nuclear tests in an effort to improve the relationship. Prime Minister Hasina also reported that Bangladesh had been striving to improve regional stability through such initiatives as a three-nation business summit held in 1997. Prime Minister Mori expressed admiration for her courageous actions toward regional stability in South Asia. Prime Minister Mori also praised Bangladesh's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and its energetic role as the proposer of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). He announced that Japan would support SAARC activities by expanding its contribution through the Japan-SAARC Special Fund.

5. U.N. Reform

Prime Minister Mori referred to the importance of United Nations reform and stated that Japan wished to emphasize this issue during the Millennium General Assembly in September. He also said that it would be effective for all nations to refer in their speeches to the concept of expanding both the permanent and nonpermanent membership of the Security Council, and including both developing and developed countries as permanent members. Prime Minister Hasina said that it was vital for the U.N. to become more democratic and transparent. She also expressed support for the idea to increase the number of permanent and nonpermanent members of the Security Council and stated that she would give due consideration to this issue when preparing her speech.

6. Other Matters

  1. Prime Minister Mori reported on the Group of Eight Kyushu-Okinawa Summit. Prime Minister Hasina congratulated him on the success of the Summit.
  2. Prime Minister Mori announced that Japan would support an investment seminar to be held in Japan in November concerning natural gas, which is an important natural resource in Bangladesh. He also announced that Japan was prepared to provide training for around 100 people in the fields of textiles and information technology, with a view to expanding trade and investment between Japan and Bangladesh.
  3. Prime Minister Hasina sought Japanese participation in her proposed Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP). Prime Minister Mori said that he would convey the invitation to both houses of Japan's National Diet and that he would seek the cooperation of Diet members who were traveling with him.

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