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Bangladesh-Japan bilateral relations


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Bangladesh to receive 70 lakh masks from Japan

Regarding the mask shortage in the local market, the minister said not everyone is required to wear masks

Amid public concerns about the global outbreak of deadly coronavirus, the demand for the face masks in Dhaka has increased sharply, triggering the price too. Photo: Saikat Bhadra
Bangladesh will receive 70 lakh pieces of masks from Japan for free, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque.

He was addressing a press meet over coronavirus at the ministry auditorium on Thursday in the capital.

"The government of Japan will provide 70 lakh pieces of masks to Bangladesh which will reduce mask shortage in the market."

Regarding the mask shortage in the local market, the minister said not everyone is required to wear masks.

"Only those affected with cough or fever can use it to prevent spread of the diseases," he added. 

When asked about the coronavirus situation, the minister replied that no Bangladeshis were infected with the virus.

"We have installed scanners in all river, land and airports. Besides, on arrival visas for Chinese citizens, particularly from Wuhan, is temporarily unavailable as part of extra cautionary measure," said the health minister.

The minister also informed that the 312 Bangladeshi students are under quarantine process for 14 days, and they are receiving foods sponsored by the government.

Other government high-ups and health officials were present during the press conference.

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Bangladeshi planes can now fly in Japanese skies

Hasan Al Javed
Published at 07:08 pm February 6th, 2020
Bangladesh will enjoy the fifth freedom facilities, which means local airlines will be able to carry passengers from other countries to Japan

In the past, Bangladeshi airliners had restricted operations in Japan. 

At a bilateral meeting between civil aviation authorities of Japan and Bangladesh held in Tokyo on January 29, it was decided that Bangladesh could fly in and out passengers across the world to and from Tokyo.

As a part of the agreement, any Bangladeshi airlines can operate passenger and cargo flights to all airports in Japan except Haneda.

Now Japan will also grant Bangladesh the fifth freedom facility under which the local airlines will be able to take passengers from other countries to Japan. In addition, the carriers of both countries can also operate cargo flights.

The fifth freedom allows an airline to carry revenue traffic between foreign countries as a part of services connecting the airline's own country. It is the right to carry passengers from one's own country to a second country and from that country onward to a third country and so on.

Earlier in 2006, Biman Bangladesh Airlines started operating only two flights to Japan every week, that too with a transit in Bangkok. But there was no fifth freedom facility. 

However, with rise in air traffic flow between the two friendly Asian countries, the need for smoother air travel is now well recognised.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) sources said that Japan has invested in various sectors in Bangladesh and a huge portion of the Japanese market comprises of Bangladeshi goods.

The trade between the two countries is likely to increase further with Japan's plan to bring in 350,000 skilled manpower from nine countries including Bangladesh.

Based on these grounds, Bangladesh has been urging Japan to waive the restrictions on air travel. Following the meeting, Biman Bangladesh Airlines now plans to introduce regular flights in the Dhaka-Tokyo route, as well as other cities in future.

CAAB Chairman Air Vice-Marshal Md Mafidur Rahman said: "Biman Bangladesh, as well as the private airlines of the country, will be able to operate in Japan owing to this agreement. But to operate a flight, we need permission from authorities of many countries. So, we will be starting all the official procedures soon."

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China exit: Japanese firms keen on moving to BD

At least 34 Japanese companies operating in China have shown interest to relocate their units to Bangladesh.

The embassy of Bangladesh in Beijing informed the development to the ministry of foreign affairs on Wednesday.

Dozens of Japanese firms have planned to leave China on the grounds of trade war between the USA and China and the supply chain disruptions.                        

Quoting JETRO officials in Beijing, the embassy said the 34 out of 690 Japanese firms registered in China have so far revealed the relocation plan following announcement of stimulus package by the Japanese government for the shift out of the mainland.

It also said the JETRO officials recognised Bangladesh’s attractiveness as an investor-friendly destination.                  

They, however, declined to name the Japanese firms willing to relocate from China.

Earlier, the ambassador accompanied by high officials of the embassy called on the Japanese ambassador in Beijing Yutaka Yokoi to urge the Japanese side to prefer Bangladesh as a destination for relocation by their firms.

Meanwhile, the Office of United States Trade Representative or USTR on May 13 last year released the list of 3,805 product categories that could be subject to tariffs of up to 25 per cent.

Impacted by the US tariffs on Chinese-made goods, Japanese companies have started to leave China as the trade war launched by the Trump administration gets intensified.

The Japanese firms that decide to relocate are mostly affected by the complete disruption to supply chain as well as the trade war that has hit hard the Japanese entities producing high-value products in China.

Auto parts makers of Mazda Motor has decided to go to Mexico from the Jiangsu Province of China.

Kasai Kogyo, supplier of Honda (interior door trim and roof part), is now planning to move from Wuhan to North America, Europe and Asia.

Masudur Rahman, an official at the Bangladesh embassy in Beijing wrote the letter to an additional secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs.

In the meantime, Sheikh F Fahim, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry or FBCCI, wrote a letter to the country representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation on May 12 calling for facilitating the relocation.

Japan has adopted a national strategy to be implemented during the post Covid-19 period to relocate its investment both at home and outside China.

The FBCCI also wrote to the Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry to encourage its member nations to relocate firms to Bangladesh.

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Japan's metro rail project in Dhaka has slowed with barely 15% of the work force engaged in any kind of productive activities, whereas China has been relentless and promised Bangladesh it will fulfil all its project obligations regardless of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Japan now bans chartered flights from Bangladesh Biman

Published: 10 Jun 2020 11:31 PM BdST Updated: 10 Jun 2020 11:34 PM BdST

Japan has put a moratorium on all chartered flights operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines alongside a ban on regular flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It has emerged that the latest restrictions came as two people tested positive for coronavirus after flying to Japan on special Biman flights.

But the state minister for civil aviation and tourism as well as the civil aviation secretary has blamed the Embassy of Japan in Dhaka for the problem. They pointed out that it was the mission that arranged the trip; Biman only let them hire its jet.

No comment from the Japanese embassy was immediately available.

Bangladesh is preparing to reopen international flights later this month.

Md Mahbub Ali, the state minister for civil aviation, said, “A restriction has been placed on conducting flights from Bangladesh to Japan. I heard that two people tested positive for coronavirus after flying to Japan on a special flight of Biman.”

Bangladesh sent two embassy officials to Japan on a chartered flight in April. Later, Tokyo banned entry of chartered flights from Bangladesh, said Md Mohibul Haque, the civil aviation secretary.

He added that the list of passengers on that plane was not prepared by Biman, or the ministry or the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.

“The Japanese embassy had chartered our flights. Now the same country has banned chartered flights from Bangladesh. We have said the Japanese embassy is responsible for the issue as the embassy made the list of people who will get on the flight. They simply wanted an aeroplane from Biman.”

“Now the blame is being pinned on us. We are not responsible for someone testing positive after flying there. So it is not our fault in anyway,” Secretary Mohibul said.

He said the regular flights to and from Japan will be restored once the air connectivity returns to normal, and mentioned that an air service agreement had been reached with the East Asian country.

“We’ve published notice for appointment of a GSA [general sales agent] there. Regular flights [to Japan] will resume once the jobs are done,” the secretary said.

Citing a conversation with Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki on Wednesday, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Japan is hopeful about the resumption of flights for the sake of trade. 

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Forgery in corona test certificates?

Mir Mostafizur Rahaman |  June 10, 2020 00:00:00

The detection of coronavirus infection among some Bangladeshis, who left the country on special flights to at least two countries---Japan and South Korea--- with corona negative certificates, has triggered serious concern among the government high-ups.

Already, Japan has suspended flights from Dhaka after one such incident.

Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen told the FE that the government is concerned over the incident.

"But now we have come to know that the certificates had a validity of 72 hours only. May be that aspect was overlooked earlier", he said.

The government has started taking steps to ensure stricter scrutiny of the corona testing certificates, submitted by the passengers while leaving the country availing special flights, the foreign minister also said.

Four Bangladeshis were found corona positive within a couple of days after their arrival in Japan. They left Bangladesh on a special fight of Bangladesh Biman on April 30.

After the incident, Japan suspended flights from Bangladesh, Mohibul Huq, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, told the FE.

Terming the incident highly embarrassing and harmful to the image of the country, he said immediate steps are required to find out whether the passengers concerned carried fake corona negative certificates or they became corona positive in the natural process.

"The aviation authority of Japan issued a notice announcing the restriction on flights from Bangladesh. When we inquired about it, we were told that the detection of coronavirus among four passengers from Bangladesh was the reason," he added.

Some officials said in addition to airlines concerned the health section of the Japan Embassy in Dhaka also scrutinized the certificates.

On May 11 last, a chartered flight of Korean Air took off from Dhaka with some Bangladeshis and Koreans on board.

"We came to know that 11 of the passengers of that flight were found corona positive when they were tested in Korea," the civil aviation secretary said in a frustrated tone.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said several rounds of discussion took place in this regard among aviation, health and foreign ministries.

The law-enforcers are engaged to find out whether there was any forgery by the personnel working in the corona testing laboratories, a senior official of the foreign ministry said.

When contacted, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Nasima Sultana said there might be other aspects of the situation.There are several instances that a person, who was earlier found corona negative, was later detected as corona positive.

"A test gives result of the condition of a person for that particular moment, when the test is being carried out. The condition may change."

But she did not reject the possibility of forgery also.

The country now has 56 Covid-19 testing laboratories, which are authorized for testing the virus infection, she added.

 

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This is actually why certification of individuals is not to be undertaken. They can either contract the virus at a later time or even forge the documents. It opens up another headache.

Instead if any person wants to fly overseas they should be isolated for 14 days at a hotel before they get to board the flight with tests carried out each morning until zero hour. It will be expensive but its what expatriates should expect if they want to fly out of Bangladesh at all otherwise more countries will ban flights from Bangladesh in this embarrassing manner.

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The Padma bridge project used to run round the clock but now only the day shift is working so it will be nearly impossible to complete the project in time by June 2021.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2020/06/11/budget-fy21-fund-cuts-in-mega-projects-due-to-covid-19-pandemic

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Japan to dispense $1.0b in budget aid

Bangladesh for the first time is expected to secure US$1.0 billion worth of budget support from Japan next week.

The support would help the government weather the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, officials said on Monday.

The Ministry of Finance officials said they are likely to sign a loan deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on August 5 in Dhaka.

This will be the first time in the history that Japan is extending budget support, said the officials.

The possible $1.0 billion budgetary support could be disbursed in two tranches in fiscal year 2020-21 and in FY2021-22, said a senior finance official.

He said, "Japan usually provides us the official assistance through different packages to bankroll some development projects every year. But this time, the Bangladesh's largest bilateral donor is coming forward with the big chunk of fiscal support."

"Due to the massive impact of COVID on the Bangladesh's economy, we had sought the budget support from Japan and some other multilateral donors to cushion the virus blow to the economy. And our largest bilateral donor responded quickly," an additional secretary told the FE.

He said this would help ease the resource constraints the government is facing due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal had requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to provide financial support to finance the budget to tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, the IMF confirmed $732 million balance of payments support, the ADB $500 million budgetary support and the WB disbursed the $250 million and the second tranche of the pending $750 million budget support recently.

The ADB has also assured the government of another $1.0 billion budgetary support for Bangladesh, which could be confirmed soon.

Besides, the Beijing-based AIIB and the Jeddah-based IsDB are also expected to provide some $350 million worth of budget support for Bangladesh.

With the global economy getting battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh's economy has also been suffering a lot with millions of people thrown out of jobs.

It needs huge investments for reconstructing the economy, which suffered a body blow after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Kamal talked with the IMF, WB, ADB, AIIB, IsDB and Japan for getting assurance of the budgetary support to the economic recovery. Bangladesh's economy expanded at a rate of 8.15 per cent rate in FY2019.

He said that he had received "positive response" from the donor agencies over the loan assistance.

Japan is proving financial support under its ODA packages to many development projects, including the ongoing Uttara-Farmgate-Motijheel MRT-6 metrorail construction project, MRT-5 and MRT-1 metro rail construction projects and Railway bridge parallel to Bangabandhu bridge on the Jamuna River.

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Japan to give $3.2b in loans for 7 dev projects

Staff Correspondent | Published: 20:12, Aug 12,2020

Dhaka and Tokyo on Wednesday signed a loan agreement worth $3.2 billion under the official development assistance of Japan to implement seven development projects in Bangladesh.

Economic Relations Division secretary Fatima Yasmin and Japan ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki signed the exchange of notes of the 41st ODA of Japan to Bangladesh at the ERD conference room in Dhaka. 

The loan package comprises assistance for seven projects amounting to 338.247 billion Japanese yen (approximately $3.2 billion), the largest-ever loan package since the inception of ODA in 1974, said a press release issued by the Japan embassy.

The repayment period for the loan is 20 years after the grace period of 10 years, it said.

The interest rate for the loan is 0.65 per cent while the interest rate for the part related to payments to consultants is 0.01 per cent a year.

The 41st exchange of notes cover the projects that include Jamuna Railway Bridge Construction Project (II), Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Expansion Project (II), Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (IV), Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (Line 5 Northern Route), Chattogram – Cox’s Bazar Highway Improvement Project, Food Value Chain Improvement Project and Urban Development and City Governance Project.

Based on the exchange of notes, JICA Bangladesh Office chief representative Hayakawa Yuho and Farida signed a relevant loan agreement on the occasion.

Japan has been the single largest development partner of Bangladesh since 2012 and total amount of its financial assistance has now reached $22 billion (commitment base).

According to the release, Japan has provided around $13 million so far as the emergency-support to tackle COVID-19 in Bangladesh through international organisations, as well as provided PPE to hospitals through JICA.

Japan and Bangladesh on July 16 also signed the exchange of notes on Japanese Grant aid ‘Economic and Social Development Programme’(around $10 million) for procuring medical equipment, including CT Scanner and X-ray Machine, to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak.

On August 5, both countries signed exchange of notes of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan worth around $331 million, which is the first budget support from Japan to Bangladesh.

The purpose of the financial assistance is to provide funding for additional financial expenditure by Bangladesh to implement the economic stimulus package, said the press release.

 

https://www.newagebd.net/article/113323/japan-to-give-32b-in-loans-for-7-dev-projects

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Bangladesh, Japan to sign MoU for feasibility study on Mitsubishi factory

FE REPORT | Published:  August 19, 2021 08:26:34 | Updated:  August 19, 2021 08:50:30

Bangladesh and Japan will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study towards setting up a manufacturing factory for Mitsubishi cars here in Bangladesh.

The process for signing the MoU is now at the final stage and is expected to be signed during the current month, said Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun during a meeting with the Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh ITO Naoki at the ministry on Wednesday.

The minister requested the Japanese envoy to come up with more investment in sugar, agri-food processing and ship-rebuilding sectors for the mutual benefits of the two countries.

It is to be mentioned that the Japanese government has already assured Bangladesh of investing in automobile and fertiliser factories.

Referring to Japan a long-time and tested friend of Bangladesh, the minister thanked the Japanese government for extending cooperation towards the development of Bangladesh.

The meeting discussed elaborately an enhancement in bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Japan, for instance, setting up more Japanese industries here.

It was discussed in the meeting that even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the production of fertiliser by Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company Ltd (KAFCO) was going on in full swing.

More godowns will be set up for proper preservation and supply of fertiliser, as discussed in the meeting.

An investment-friendly climate now exists in Bangladesh, said the Japanese envoy.

He said that the Bangladesh government was providing all sorts of support to foreign investors.

Bangladesh as a developing country is well ahead in expansion and adaptation of industrial technology among the countries in South Asia, the ambassador observed.

The envoy assured the minister of extending Japanese cooperation in building a new fertiliser factory in Sirajganj district and setting up an automobile testing and research institute in Bangladesh.

Additional Secretary of the industries ministry Sheikh Faezul Amin, Senior Assistant Secretary Md Salim Ullah and First Secretary of the Head of Economic Department at the Embassy of Japan Haruta Hiroki, among others, were present.

[email protected]

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44 minutes ago, Nihonjin Karatumo said:

Bangladesh, Japan to sign MoU for feasibility study on Mitsubishi factory

FE REPORT | Published:  August 19, 2021 08:26:34 | Updated:  August 19, 2021 08:50:30

Bangladesh and Japan will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study towards setting up a manufacturing factory for Mitsubishi cars here in Bangladesh.

The process for signing the MoU is now at the final stage and is expected to be signed during the current month, said Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun during a meeting with the Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh ITO Naoki at the ministry on Wednesday.

The minister requested the Japanese envoy to come up with more investment in sugar, agri-food processing and ship-rebuilding sectors for the mutual benefits of the two countries.

It is to be mentioned that the Japanese government has already assured Bangladesh of investing in automobile and fertiliser factories.

Referring to Japan a long-time and tested friend of Bangladesh, the minister thanked the Japanese government for extending cooperation towards the development of Bangladesh.

The meeting discussed elaborately an enhancement in bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Japan, for instance, setting up more Japanese industries here.

It was discussed in the meeting that even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the production of fertiliser by Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company Ltd (KAFCO) was going on in full swing.

More godowns will be set up for proper preservation and supply of fertiliser, as discussed in the meeting.

An investment-friendly climate now exists in Bangladesh, said the Japanese envoy.

He said that the Bangladesh government was providing all sorts of support to foreign investors.

Bangladesh as a developing country is well ahead in expansion and adaptation of industrial technology among the countries in South Asia, the ambassador observed.

The envoy assured the minister of extending Japanese cooperation in building a new fertiliser factory in Sirajganj district and setting up an automobile testing and research institute in Bangladesh.

Additional Secretary of the industries ministry Sheikh Faezul Amin, Senior Assistant Secretary Md Salim Ullah and First Secretary of the Head of Economic Department at the Embassy of Japan Haruta Hiroki, among others, were present.

[email protected]

Japan's professionalism is incomparable. No doubt about it. 

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On 8/19/2021 at 12:56 PM, Joel Ahmed said:

Japan's professionalism is incomparable. No doubt about it. 

Add to that ....... commitment to every level of work. No matter how small or big it may seem!

In Bangladesh however, this sort of commitment are rather frowned upon. On top you won't get recognized as much!

Word "incomparable" can't even seem to describe the lack of fastidiousness in Bangladeshi work culture as a whole. 

Guess I've said enough for today!

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