President arrives in Tokyo on official visit to further strengthen ties

TOKYO: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived here on Monday (local time) on a three-day (Feb 21-23) official visit to Japan.The President is visiting Japan at the invitation of Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan, to further strengthen the cordial relations between the two countries and open new avenues of cooperation.On his arrival at the hotel where he will be staying, the President was warmly received by workers of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who were raising slogans of “Jeay Bhutto” and “Charon Subaun ki zanjeer Benazir Benazir”.This will be the President’s second visit to Japan since assuming office. During his stay in Japan, the President will call on the Emperor of Japan. He will hold summit level talks with Prime Minister Naoto Kan.A high level delegation comprising Federal Minister for Textile Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Minister for Industries and Production Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Chairman Board of Investment Salim Mandviwala and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir will assist the President during the visit.

The President is also scheduled to meet with Japanese Cabinet members, parliamentarians and leading Japanese businessmen.The visit will provide an opportunity to brief the Japanese leadership on Pakistan’s views on key international and regional issues as well as discuss ways and means to further expand bilateral political and economic ties.The visit will also reiterate the importance that Pakistan attaches to its relations with Japan.The President’s meeting with the Japanese businessmen will help project Pakistan as a destination for Japanese investment.Japan is an important country of the East Asia Pacific region as well as one of the major trading partners of Pakistan. Pakistan and Japan enjoy very close and friendly relations.Japan has played an important role in the socio-economic development of Pakistan. Japan is a major development partner, and is extending assistance for development projects in health, education and human resource development areas.Japan has actively participated in the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Forum (FODP) and hosted the FODP Ministerial and Donors Conference in Tokyo in April 2009. It pledged US$ one billion at the Donors Conference in Tokyo.

Japan has also extended assistance for the internally dislocated persons affected in Swat and Malakand.It extended US $ 500 million assistance at the Pakistan Development Forum for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims in Pakistan.Pakistan’s major exports to Japan are textile and textile articles. Yarn is Pakistan’s major export product to Japan.  Pakistan’s major imports from Japan are motor vehicles & their parts and machinery. Power generators and textile machinery constitute the main proportion of machinery import.Owing to the modernization and the improvement of the production base of the textile industry, Pakistan’s imports of the textile machinery from Japan in 2003 amounted to $117 million as against $ 20.6 million in 1999, showing an increase by more than 5.5 times.

Japan is the fourth largest investment partner of Pakistan with cumulative investment of US$ 385.9 million during the period of 1989-90 to 2003-2004, constituting five percent of the total investment in Pakistan.The big surge of investment was observed in 1995-96 in Independent Power Producers (IPP) projects.The Japanese investment recovered and increased by seven percent during the period of 2002-03 to 2003-04 due to the increase of the investment in the automobile sector.The Japanese investment in the automobile sector grew by more than 5.5 times in 2003-04 in comparison with the previous year (2002-03) to meet the increased domestic demand of the automobiles.Major sectors of Japanese investment are joint venture projects mainly in automobile sector. For example Pak-Suzuki Motor (Suzuki), Indus Motor (Toyota), Honda Atlas Cars (Honda), Gandhara Nissan Diesel (Nissan Diesel) and Hino Pak Motors (Hino) – APP