Kan, Hasina agree to bolster Bangladeshi ties

by Masami Ito

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed Monday in Tokyo to strengthen bilateral ties for the peace and prosperity of the international community and South Asia.

Kan and Hasina signed a joint statement in which they “confirmed the importance of further expanding the long, close and cooperating relationship between the two countries which share democratic values.”

According to the gist of the statement, Hasina expressed gratitude for Japan’s support in improving infrastructure, such as roads, railways and power plants, as well as bettering education and health.

The two leaders also agreed that sustainable development and ending poverty were important global issues that needed to be addressed, especially in reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Kan praised the fact that Bangladesh is making “clear” progress in reducing the death rate for newborns. According to the Foreign Ministry, the mortality rate for newborns in Bangladesh sank to 41.3 per 1,000 in 2009, compared with 92 per 1,000 in 1990.

Japan has been a major donor to Bangladesh since it became independent in 1971 and the two countries have been on “very friendly” terms ever since, the ministry said.