Bangladeshi Ambassador M. Serajul Islam said Wednesday his country’s relations with Japan are extremely good, but he expressed hope Tokyo will not decrease its official development assistance to Bangladesh.

In a visit to The Japan Times, Islam stressed that ODA plays a vital role in building his country’s infrastructure and serves as the foundation for its development.

Islam arrived in Japan in July after Islam serving as ambassador to Egypt from 1999 to earlier this year.

He called on Japanese companies to increase investment in his country. Saying any type of industry is welcome, he stressed that abundant cheap but educated labor is available in Bangladesh and that the country is situated to serve as a gateway to the market of 1.2 billion people in Southeast Asia.

The volume of two-way trade between Bangladesh and Japan amounts to slightly more than $600 million a year, with one of Bangladesh’s main export items being shrimp, the ambassador said, noting the overall trade balance is lopsidedly in favor of Japan.

He expressed hope that Japan will increase its imports of jute and other agricultural products, seafood and ready-made garments from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, with its commitment to liberal democracy, shares a common ground with Japan and can further deepen bilateral relations, he said.

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