Urging Japanese friends to keep on nurturing the wonderful relationship between the two countries, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said Bangladesh needs Japan by its side to have support in many fields like infrastructural and human resources development, and power generation.
“Our government adheres to the ideology of our freedom struggle and intends to establish secularism and pluralism in our society. To do so, we need Japan by our side to provide support that also includes our infrastructural and human resource development, power generation, etc,” she said.
Hasina was speaking before the Japanese friends and former ambassadors of Japan to Bangladesh when they met her at Akasaka Palace in the evening. The Prime Minister said it was a matter of great pride and honour for her to be among them as it reminds her of them and their families’ invaluable contribution that gave Bangladesh strength and inspiration during its heroic struggle for independence in 1971.
“It also reminds me of your tireless efforts in mobilising public opinion in Japan that persuaded your government to be among the first countries to accord recognition to Bangladesh as an independent nation. Indeed, you have been our friend in need and have carved out a permanent niche in our hearts,” she added.
Hasina said Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ensured that Japan should be one of the first countries for him to visit as to express Bangladeshi people’s gratitude for Japan’s selfless and passionate support at a time when it desperately needed.
“His historic visit in 1973 paved the way for cementing the best of relationship between our two countries. Your contribution during our nation’s independence movement can never be repaid. However, during my immediate past tenure as Prime Minister, we endeavored to recognise our Japanese heroes with our highest State Awards,” she added.
The Prime Minister was also saddened to learn that some of its Japanese friends died among them was Professor Tsuyoshi Nara, a great friend of Bangladesh and one who had promoted Bengali language, philosophy and culture in Japan.
“His absence will be sorely missed but he’ll remain in our hearts forever. I see Mrs. Nara with us today and I express my deepest condolences to her as I do also to the families of our other good friends of Bangladesh – Takashi Hayakawa and General Fujiwara and others who have passed away. Their spirits will always be with the people of Bangladesh,” she said.
The Prime Minister said some in this esteemed gathering are former Ambassadors of Japan to Bangladesh who are familiar as she had interacted with them during her years as the Prime Minister or as the Leader of the Opposition.
While in Bangladesh, Hasina said they served sincerely to consolidate the relationship between the two countries.
On their return to Japan, she said, heir love and goodwill for Bangladesh continued to urge them to engage in activities aimed at strengthening friendship and understanding among our two nations.
“I greatly admire their role and request them to continue with to continue with their laudable efforts with new ideas and projects,” the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister thanked the friends of Bangladesh for their noble initiative to translate the autobiography of Bangabandhu ‘Unfinished Memoir’ in Japanese language.
Earlier, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the memory of Prof Tsuyoshi Nara, a great friend of Bangladesh.
A total of 18 friends of Bangladesh and former Japanese ambassadors to Bangladesh were present at the function.