Bangladesh and Japan are now in a position to take bilateral relations to a new height by upgrading it to a closer and deeper ‘strategic partnership’, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said on Saturday.
"The relationship was elevated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and former Prime Minister Late Shinzo Abe to a ‘Comprehensive Partnership’ in 2014. We are now presented with an ideal opportunity to take bilateral relations to a new height by upgrading it to a closer and deeper ‘Strategic Partnership’," he said. The minister was inaugurating the 2nd International Hybrid Conference on Japanology in New Era at the University of Dhaka.
The Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhaka, and the Japan Foundation organised the conference marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dhaka Professor Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh IwamaKiminori, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan Shahabuddin Ahmed, Chairman & CEO of JETRO Nobuhiko Sasaki, and Managing Director of Japan Foundation Hideki Hara spoke at the event.
The foreign minister said Japan has been a household name in Bangladesh due to its amazing economic progress, advanced science and technology, unique culture, disciplined lifestyle and work ethics, long history but most importantly the kind of affinity and sympathy that the Japanese people feel for Bangladesh.
"It was exemplary that Japanese school children donated their tiffin money for the flood victims of 1970 and for the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladesh always reciprocated that feeling.
"We express solidarity and empathise with the Japanese people when they are troubled with natural calamities like earthquakes, landslides, typhoons, or floods," he said.
DrMomen said after the independence of Bangladesh and Japan’s prompt recognition of Bangladesh’s independence on 10 February 1972, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman undertook the historic visit to Japan in October 1973 and laid the foundation of today’s exemplary bilateral relations between the two countries.
"Our excellent bilateral relations have been enriched in content and dimension in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who visited Japan five times as Prime Minister," he said.
Japan is renowned worldwide for its distinctive culture, tradition, and rich heritage.
Honour, dignity, and self-esteem remain very high in their personal and national levels till this date.
Japanese culture is a set of values that puts importance on social harmony and honours hard work.
The Japanese value “omoiyari” is still being nurtured in everyday life.
"It is a Japanese word that means to have sympathy and compassion towards another person.
"Mutual respect and group consensus are deeply rooted in all aspects of life.
"This is reflected in their personal interaction and has so far been an important requirement in sustaining the society, where each one is equal, and no job is lesser," he said.
Their sense of discipline and dedication, resilient nature, and strong ethics in workplaces have been exemplary to follow.
Still, they strive for improvement. The concept of ‘kaizen’ meaning continuous improvement has a huge influence on the overall well-being and development of Japanese society.
Their minimalist approach to life that has been passed through generations contributes to not only high savings but also environmental sustainability.
"Wherever you go in Japan, you will feel you are close to the nature."
"Thus, being a resource-constrained country, Japan has become the 3rd largest economy in the world by optimum resource utilization and at the same time putting efforts in conserving the environment.
"The increasing number of Japanese companies in Bangladesh and opportunities for Bangladeshis to work in Japan are both acting as driving force for growing number of students and youths to put efforts in learning the Japanese language, culture, and values that we may inculcate in our lives," said the foreign minister.