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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hashina’s special envoy, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud, called on Japan Wednesday to increase direct investment in his country, which is aiming to emerge as a midlevel developed country by 2021.

“Japan is the biggest aid contributor to Bangladesh. Bangladeshi people are pro-Japanese. Yet, Japan ranks below the top 15 foreign nations in terms of foreign direct investment,” Mahmud said in an interview with The Japan Times.

Mahmud attributed Japan’s hesitancy to invest to a lack of understanding of his country on the part of Japanese business interests, and the prevalence of negative images of his country stemming from its recent political instability and frequent cyclones.

In this context, Mahmud welcomed Prime Minister Taro Aso’s initiatives to promote trade and investment between the two by setting up a private- and public-sector council.

Mahmud met with Aso Tuesday to hand him a personal letter from Hashina.

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