Alisher Shaykhov, outgoing Uzbekistan ambassador to Japan, expressed gratitude Thursday for Japan’s contribution to educational development in the Central Asian republic, which has been striving for economic reform since it became independent in 1991, following the Shaykhovbreak up of the Soviet Union.

“In our country, we started with economic and industrial development,” Shaykhov, 44, said during a visit to The Japan Times, adding that after a couple of years the question of who would continue the reforms had to be addressed.

“I feel sincere gratitude to the Japanese government, which also believes that education should be one of the priorities in the cooperation between Japan and Uzbekistan, so that when our children grow up they can take care of economic reforms,” he said.

Shaykhov had previously served as ambassador to Germany and will be assigned as ambassador to Brussels after leaving Japan next month.

“When I return to Uzbekistan in the future, I will find a lot of Japanese things there,” Shaykhov said.

He cited the Japanese Garden and the Peace Bell, both to be built in the capital, Tashkent, as symbols of friendship between the two countries that he is looking forward to seeing.

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