Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari met his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, in Tokyo on Monday, with both sides agreeing to boost bilateral cooperation in several fields, including trade, investment, information technology and tourism.
Bilawal is on a four-day visit to Japan, where he had arrived on Saturday, following an invitation from the Japanese government. A day ago, Bilawal had met the Pakistani diaspora in Tokyo, where he had emphasised the need for increased bilateral trade between the two countries.
Addressing a joint press conference after meeting the Japanese foreign minister, Bilawal said, “We have agreed to further deepen and exchange our mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in areas of trade, investment, human resource development, information technology, tourism and agriculture.”
Bilawal said that both countries had agreed to explore avenues for working together on targeted programmes in the “domains of solarisation, desalination and water purification” as well as for rebuilding housing in flood-affected areas of Pakistan.
At the outset of his address, Bilawal stated that both the countries were “longstanding friends and share a special bond, based on deep-rooted linkages that go far in history and time”.
The foreign minister said Pakistan attached great importance to its relationship with Japan as both countries had stood with each other in times of need.
Bilawal went on to recall his meeting with Hayashi in August last year on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum. He termed today’s discussion with his Japanese counterpart “very productive”.
He said that both sides had also agreed to “conduct language skills assessment tests for Japanese language in Pakistan to facilitate movement of skilled workforce”.
The foreign minister also expressed his gratitude to the Japanese government and the people of Japan for their support during last year’s devastating floods and the subsequent relief and rehabilitation efforts.
He announced his plans to interact with the “private sector, local media as well as think tanks to further broaden our engagement” during his visit. Bilawal also invited Hayashi to visit Pakistan “to further our discussions”.
Later, Bilawal also met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the Foreign Office (FO) said.
In a tweet, the FO said the foreign minister conveyed greetings from the government and the people of Pakistan and that both leaders “expressed the desire to further enhance engagement and cooperation in different fields”.