Bulgarian Ambassador to Japan Blagovest Sendov said Friday that reinvigorating economic and trade relations with Japan is his current priority.

Sendov, who assumed his current post four months ago, said the volume of bilateral trade has remained stagnant in recent years.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the value of two-way trade between Japan Sendov and Bulgaria shrank from $48.5 million in 1996 to $32 million in 2002.

In order to boost Bulgarian exports to Japan, the ambassador is pinning high hopes on high-quality Bulgarian wine.

“Yogurt is not Bulgaria’s sole produce for export to Japan,” said Sendov, alluding to the recent Bulgarian yogurt boom among Japanese.

During his visit to The Japan Times, the former scientist said that Bulgaria must become more attractive for Japanese businesses, given the fact that Japan’s total direct investment in the Balkan state stands at just $9.1 million.

Sendov said he also wants to see an increase in the number of Japanese tourists to his country, which at present stands at some 5,000 a year.

Otherwise, bilateral relations, especially political ties, are more than satisfactory, the ambassador said, adding that he welcomes Japan’s stepped-up economic aid.

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