India envoy stresses Japan’s stature

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

India’s special envoy to Japan said Wednesday the world’s second-most-populous country is ready to make the visit by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in November successful and bilateral ties stronger.

Ashwani Kumar is India’s first ever special envoy to any nation. He is to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi during his three-day visit, which began Tuesday.

Kumar was also planning to meet with Imperial Household Agency officials to discuss details of the Imperial visit.

“The whole idea of my visit is to strengthen bilateral relations,” Kumar told The Japan Times during an interview in Tokyo.

The fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh established the position of special envoy to Japan shows “how important Japan is for India,” he said.

Kumar said his meetings with the high-ranking Japanese officials will also cover maritime security as well as India’s economic potential.

India will spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over the next five years and wants Japanese firms to join the projects, he said.