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Friday, September 5, 2014, Bhadra 21, 1421, Zilqad 9, 1435 Hijr

Red Carpet To Roll For Abe Tomorrow
Dhaka eyes stronger security, economic ties with Tokyo
Saleem Samad
Publish Date : 2014-09-05,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 107
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will arrive in Dhaka to a red carpet welcome on Saturday on a two-day visit which is viewed as a new landmark in continuously flourishing ties with Bangladesh.
Abe comes to Bangladesh in just three months after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Japan in May.
Foreign Ministry officials in Dhaka said the upcoming visit of the Japanese premier would further "strengthen security and economic ties" and enhance "comprehensive partnership" between two countries.
The Japanese PM will arrive on a special flight for a 22-hour tour - before he flies to Sri Lanka on another brief official trip.
Japan-Bangladesh talks will centre around the Joint Statement signed by prime ministers Abe and Hasina in Tokyo and will review the progress of the Joint Statement and challenges ahead, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told The Daily Observer.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at a press briefing on Thursday said investment issues, including Japanese assistance in ensuring energy security and infrastructure development, will dominate the Bangladesh-Japan summit.
The Foreign Minister said premier Abe is coming with a 150-member entourage, including 50 top business executives and journalists.
His wife Akie Abe will also accompany the Japanese leader and she will have her own agenda during the tour.
Akie Abe will visit the Baptist Mission Integrated School (BMIS) and Dhaka Nursing College on Saturday.
Besides talking with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina - and despite a tight schedule -- Premier Abe will meet President Abdul Hamid and several political leaders. They will include Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, Jatiya Party Chairman Hossein Muhammad Ershad and his wife Begum Raushan, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Sheikh Hasina will host a dinner in honour of the Japanese premier on Saturday evening.
During Sheikh Hasina's visit, Japan agreed to give about 600 billion yen ($5.71 billion) in official development assistance to Bangladesh over the next four to five years, starting in fiscal 2015. This fiscal, it has announced aid nearly to the extent of $ 1.2 billion, officials said on Thursday.
The Foreign Ministry in a statement said that it was an indication of Tokyo's "very keen" interest in expanding and deepening "comprehensive partnership" in all spheres.
Both sides embarked on "a new era of relationship" during Hasina's visit, when Abe confirmed he would come to Dhaka shortly.
Japan established diplomatic ties with Bangladesh in February 1972, and quickly became the country's largest bilateral development partner.
Its assistance comes regularly as grant, aid, technical assistance, and soft loans. The total grants and aid reached $11 billion last year.
In Dhaka, Abe will attend a business seminar on Saturday jointly organised by Bangladesh Board of Investment (BOI), Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). He will also address the Bangladesh-Japan Economic Forum and is expected to outline a vision to promote bilateral trade and attract Japanese investment in Bangladesh.
Later, Abe and Hasina will hold an official parley on the "Joint Bangladesh-Japan Public Private Economic Dialogue", where he will delineate on trade, commerce and investment policy for Japanese entrepreneurs for Bangladesh.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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