Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said the relations between Bangladesh and Japan have steadily grown from strength to strength with accelerated pace in recent years since Bangabandhu's visit to Japan.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman paid the historic visit to Japan in October 1973.
"As we cross the milestone of 50 years of friendship, I’m confident that together we can build a peaceful and prosperous future for all," Dr Momen said.
The Foreign Minister made the remarks while addressing a function on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan that falls on February 10.
Dr Momen said since the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009, the two countries have consolidated close cooperation to new heights through trade, investment, development cooperation, education and cultural exchange, and a broad spectrum of people-to-people contacts.
The Embassy of Japan and Ministry of Foreign Affairs cohosted the event at the Foreign Service Academy.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki also spoke at the event.
Bangladesh and Japan are now working to elevate the current "comprehensive partnership” into a "strategic partnership” on the basis of shared interests, targets and priorities.
Dr Momen acknowledged the continued support and cooperation from Japan towards the humanitarian crisis concerning the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.
"We seek Japan's continued support and understanding for an early, safe, sustainable and dignified return of more than a million of these forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals, known as Rohingya, who are temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh, to their homeland in the Rakhine State," said the Foreign Minister.
He said the prolongation of this crisis will adversely impact the safety and security of not only Bangladesh and Myanmar but also the entire region and that may affect development aspirations of this region.
Dr Momen conveyed his heartiest congratulations and warmest felicitations to Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Hayashi Yoshimasa, and the friendly people of Japan on this historic occasion in bilateral relations.
He also expressed his deep admiration and respect to the Emperor and Empress of Japan and also Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida on this auspicious occasion.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations, the Embassy of Japan in Dhaka is going to publish a photo-book with 50 original photos on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's historic visit to Japan in 1973.
The Japanese Embassy in association with Bangladesh Bank is going to release a commemorative coin while Bangladesh Embassy in Tokyo in association with Japan Post is going to release commemorative postage stamp.
The photo-book on the Father of the Nation will remain as valued treasure with us symbolising the special friendly bond between the people of the two countries, Dr Momen said.
The commemorative coin and postage stamp will be symbols of mutual trust and friendship between us in the days ahead.
Since independence, Japan has committed to provide support of more than US$ 24 billion as project aid, food aid and commodity aid to Bangladesh in the form of grants, loans and technical assistance.
Until FY2020, Bangladesh received a total of US$14.25 billion worth of assistance from Japan, Dr Momen said.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ensured through her visits to Japan in 1997, 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2019 that our relationship continues to grow for mutual benefit.
Former Japanese Prime Ministers have also visited Bangladesh, the latest being the immediate past Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019. "These high-level engagements have driven our relations towards an upward trajectory," said the Foreign Minister.
Japan has stood by Bangladesh during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In two phases, Japan provided Covid-19 crisis response emergency support loan.
"It also provided 4.5 million of Japan-made Astra-Zeneca vaccines through COVAX process, which has augmented Bangladesh government's response against the pandemic," Dr Momen said.