Japan desires stronger economic ties; keen to strengthen Pakistan's export base

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Japan desires stronger economic ties; keen to strengthen Pakistan's export base

ISLAMABAD z Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda said he desired a stronger economic relationship between the two countries and was keen to help build Pakistan's export base to help it meet challenges. "I wish to upgrade our economic relations with greater involvement of the public and private sector for the mutual benefit of both the countries," Ambassador Matsuda told APP, at a reception hosted in honour of 10 Pakistani students, who were awarded the coveted MEXT scholarships by the Government of Japan to help them pursue higher education in their respected fields. He said he came to Pakistan with three goals; the first of which was strengthening the economic ties. He said he wanted to further improve the quantum of trade between the two countries by involving public and private sectors for sustained economic ties. In that regard, he said Japan was willing to work with Pakistan to boost its export competitiveness and diversification, besides strengthening its manufacturing base. The ambassador, however, pointed to the several challenges in that respect and said there was a need to work together to make Pakistan's export sectors strong, particularly its agriculture, textiles and auto industry. He said Pakistan owing to its large population and location at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Middle East was a very lucrative market for foreign investors and he desired to bring in more Japanese investors to the country. "We need to improve the domestic market and industries, and to make Pakistan a big export base," Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda said. The ambassador, who has recently arrived in Pakistan, said Japan would also like to see a more robust political dialogue between the government to government level and the academia of the two countries. He said Pakistan was an important country of the region, and he was looking forward to the visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Japan in the near future. Qureshi was scheduled to pay a four-day visit to Japan from February 24, however, it was postponed owing to the ongoing tension with India. A new date was being worked out with mutual consultations, the Foreign Office said. Ambassador Matsuda said his country was also keen to enhance ties with Pakistan in sports, culture and education. He pointed to the hosting of 2020 Olympic and Paralympics games and said his country was looking forward to seeing Pakistani athletes there, particularly Pakistan’s hockey team. He said both the countries could learn from each other in hockey and martial arts. Recalling the recent hosting of the PSL cricket series in Pakistan, the ambassador said cricket was getting popular in Japan. "There are several cricket teams in Japan and in June 2019 we will host ICC (International Cricket Council) Under 19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier."

Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda with a 37-year career in Foreign Service has been assigned to Pakistan for first time and is determined to further enhance Japan-Pakistan relationship, which dated back to the establishment of their diplomatic ties in 1952.