Zardari’s Japan visit brings tangible benefits for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Tokyo has given a new impetus to bilateral relations as political and business leaders of Japan finalized proposals for investment in various sectors in Pakistan. During his visit, President Zardari met with Japanese business leaders, who showed keen interest in making further investment in industrial, infrastructure, energy and railway sectors in Pakistan. Japan is the fourth largest investment partner of Pakistan.During the visit, Tokyo offered over Rs. 14 billion interest-free loan to Pakistan for rebuilding roads and bridges destroyed in the devastating floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  This loan is repayable after 40 years at a nominal interest rate of 0.01 per cent and will be utilized for building 400 kilometers of rural roads, 120 kilometers of provincial roads and over two kilometers of bridges that were washed away during the floods.President Zardari held talks with Japanese Emperor Akihito, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Foreign Minister and Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry and explored avenues to strengthen the already existing bilateral ties in multifaceted fields.The Japanese investors agreed to set up special captive power plants in a special economic zone and offered trade concessions to Pakistan.

The two sides agreed to begin joint ventures in food and agriculture, energy, water resources, infrastructure development and for establishing of a special economic zone near Karachi over an area of 2,000 acres for investment by Japanese entrepreneurs.Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Kan appreciated and recognized Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and noted numerous sacrifices of its security forces and people.The visit laid the groundwork for a tripartite conference of corporate leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan to further explore the prospects of joint economic collaboration in the border regions for the uplift of tribal areas as a means of fighting militancy.For decades Japan has been assisting Pakistan in social, health and education sectors. Japan has also played a key role in holding the first meeting of Friends of Pakistan in Tokyo.

During his meetings, President Zardari stressed on establishing a regular dialogue mechanism at the level of  foreign ministers, for enhanced market access through FTA and GSP plus trade concessions, educational and vocational training for FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), enhanced Japanese ODA and support for upgradation of infrastructure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for facilitating trade on the Pak-Afghan border and beyond.President Yamaha Motors told President Asif Ali Zardari during a meeting in the Japanese capital that Yamaha Motors Pakistan will spend $150 million and set up a new plant at a 50-acre plot in Bin Qasim.Yamaha Company would bring advanced technology to Pakistan initially manufacture 22,000 motorcycles of 125-150 cc with EFI engines per year and during next ten years the annual production of its factory will reach 750,000. The project is expected to create 45,000 jobs – APP