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Japan to provide $ 1.18bn as ODA

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Staff reporter
Japan will provide 120 billion Yen _equivalent to US$1.18 billion to Bangladesh under the Official Development Assistance, a spokesperson accompanying the visiting Japanese foreign minister said on Saturday.
Spokesperson Koichi Mizushima said the aid will be given in five projects in a package, including energy and urban infrastructure development. But he did not provide the details.
“At this stage we can’t give you the details of the projects,” Mizushima told a press conference at a local hotel.
The announcement came on the concluding day of Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s two-day official visit to Bangladesh.
He said Japan wants ‘comprehensive partnership’ with Bangladesh to promote bilateral cooperation through high-level ‘political dialogue’. “It’s a good time to resume our cooperation at the highest political level.”
Earlier in the morning the Japanese foreign minister held talks with his Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali for nearly two hours at the foreign ministry.
Responding to a question, Mizushima said business and investment environment in Bangladesh has improved ‘to some extent’ and hoped it would improve further.
“Japanese companies are very much interested in investment in Bangladesh. A friendly business environment is important for Japanese companies,” the spokesperson said adding that the Japanese companies also want to see more ‘stable supply of energy’.
He also said the number of Japanese companies investing in Bangladesh has increased to 176 in 2013, up from 61 in 2007.
The spokesperson, however, could not tell the exact amount already invested by the Japanese companies in Bangladesh.
He said the Japanese foreign minister appreciated BNP’s participation in the ongoing upazila elections.
 The spokesperson said Japan’s relations with Bangladesh are not limited only to political level but to people-to-people exchange. He said young people are very important as they are the future leaders.
Responding to another question, the spokesperson said there was no schedule for the Japanese Foreign Minister to meet with BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
He said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been invited to visit Japan and the schedule will be fixed at a mutually convenient time.
The Japanese foreign minister is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before leaving Dhaka on Saturday night.

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