ISLAMABAD: Japan is not against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and may also help in the project, said Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai on Tuesday at a public talk titled ‘Japan-Pakistan Relationship: 65 Years and Beyond’.

The event was hosted at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

He said all projects should be based on transparency, openness and accountability.

“Japan-Pakistan relations are based on three main elements- business, aid and politics and security. The hospitality and humanitarian values of the people of Pakistan have served to clear the prevailing misperceptions about Pakistan,” he said.

Mr Kurai said Japan assigns high value to its bilateral relations with Pakistan since the nature of their cooperation is multidimensional.

He discussed the bilateral relations at length and pointed out that Japan has helped Pakistan in many areas.

“We appreciate Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the war on terror and we also value Pakistan’s efforts in strengthening democracy and expect the country will continue to do so,” he said.

He spoke about the import-export gap in bilateral trade between the countries and said Pakistani textile items should be exported to Japan in order to reduce the import-export deficit.

He said that for bilateral trade to grow, security, infrastructure and business environment are key factors.

ISSI Chairman Khalid Mehmood said Pakistan-Japan relations have their roots in the ancient civilisation of Gandhara.

He said Pakistan has supported Japan on many international forums and that Pakistan was once the largest exporter of textiles to Japan while Japan was the largest exporter of machinery and vehicles to Pakistan.

He said President Ayub’s visit to Japan was historical as the emperor had welcomed him himself.

He pointed to Tokyo’s changing nuclear policy and said Indo-Japan nuclear cooperation be used for peaceful purposes and emphasised that any discriminatory approach will be unjust and Pakistan should not be made an exception in this regard.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2017

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