Public Talk on Japan-Pakistan Relationship: 65 Years and Beyond
7 November, 2017
“Japan-Pakistan relations are embedded in three main elements: business, aid and, security. The hospitality and humanitarian values of the people of Pakistan have served to clear the prevailing misperceptions about Pakistan.” This was stated by H.E. Mr. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan at a Public Talk held at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad on November 7, 2017. Ambassador Kurai said that Japan assigns high value to its bilateral relations with Pakistan since the nature of their cooperation is multidimensional. He discussed the bilateral relations at length, and pointed out that Japan has helped Pakistan in the areas of humanitarian assistance, social security and infrastructure development, emphasizing that, “of these projects, Indus Highway is the flagship project which connects Peshawar to Karachi, stretching across 1200 km, and it has been done with Japan’s assistance. It was completed in june 201.”
Speaking about Official Development Assistance (ODA), he remarked that , “ODA does matter but security situation is more important.” He appreciated the improving security and the overall economic situation of the country, “We appreciate Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in War on Terror (WoT). We also value Pakistan’s efforts in strengthening democracy and expect the country will continue to do so.” He also pointed towards the import-export gap between the bilateral trade and urged that Pakistani textile items should be exported to Japan in order to reduce the import-export deficit. He was of the view that, for bilateral trade to grow, security, infrastructure and business environment are the key factors. Talking about CPEC, he said that, “We are not against China-Pakistan Economic Project (CPEC), we appreciate this initiative but, at the same time, we believe whatever project is carried out should be based on transparency, openness, and accountability. We have made it clear that we may be open to help in furthering this project.”
Earlier, in his welcome marks, Chairman ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood said that Pakistan-Japan relations have their deep roots in the ancient civilization of Gandhara. He briefly touched upon the history of bilateral relations, which began with the ratification of the San Francisco Treaty. Pakistan, he said, supported Japan at many international forums. Earlier, Pakistan was the largest exporter of textile items to Japan, while Japan was the largest exporter of machinery and vehicles to Pakistan. He said that President Ayub’s visit to Japan was historic as the Emperor himself welcomed him after his arrival in Tokyo. It, indeed, was a rare event in the diplomatic history of the Pak-Japan diplomatic relations. He also pointed out Tokyo’s changing nuclear policy. He cited the Indo-Japan nuclear cooperation and emphasized that any discriminatory approach towards Pakistan would be unjust. He also clarified that Kashmir is not a territorial issue between Pakistan and India, but it is a question of self-determination of the Kashmiri people, reflected, time and again, in the UN resolutions.