Warmth in Pak-Japan ties

UNDOUBTEDLY history of Pak-Japan relations is glorious. The warmth of this relationship was also very emphatically highlighted at a Roundtable Conference organised by this Paper while taking forward the legacy of its Editor in Chief and founder Zahid Malik who was a great proponent of strong Pak-Japan relations and Pakistan-Japan Business Forum marking the 65th years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The conference held in Karachi indeed provided an opportunity not only to reflect upon the historic relations but also the way forward to further augment these relations by enhancing cooperation in diverse fields that are beneficial for the peoples of two countries.
Apart from extending assistance during the times of natural calamities, the Japanese government also won the hearts of Pakistani people by hosting the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Meeting and Donors conference in 2009, which conveyed pledges in excess of $5 billion. Similarly when Japan was hit by the devastating tsunami in 2011, Pakistan also came forward to express solidarity and support to Japanese friends. Quite recently much is being said about growing Japan-India relations and that Japan is now more tilted towards New Delhi than Islamabad. No doubt India is a big market for the Japanese goods but in our view Pak-Japan relations continue to have the significance. There is just need to give impetus to the efforts that enhance cooperation in different sectors. Japan is still one of the major development and trading partners of Pakistan. Like in the case of many other countries, the trade balance with Japan is not in our favour. To bridge this gap, Pakistan needs to move away from the traditional export of raw material and concentrate more on value-added goods. Pakistan stands among the top producers of cotton, wheat, fish, sporting goods, cutlery, gems, surgical instruments, fruits, dairy products etc. If only Pakistan were to succeed in acquiring state-of-the-art technology by inviting joint ventures with Japanese companies, the trade gap could be substantially reduced. There has also been expression of interest on both sides to sign the Free Trade Agreement. We hope that efforts towards that end will be intensified in order to fully exploit the potential of trade, which is mutually beneficial to both the countries. Pakistan also offers immense opportunities to Japanese investment in various sectors including that of energy and infrastructure. We expect Japan will be more forthcoming in exploring Pakistani market and invest in the economic zones along with transfer of technology that indeed will go a long way in helping Pakistan achieve industrial development and produce quality products for exports to world markets.

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