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1- INTERNATIONAL COAL CONFERENCE
2- JAPAN'S ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN

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JAPAN'S ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN

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The announcement, that Tokyo was ready to resume economic assistance to Pakistan is highly encouraging

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From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI,
Islamabad

Aug 23 - 29, 2004
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Japan is prepared to resume yen loans assistance to Pakistan (which was suspended in the aftermath of 1998 nuclear tests) and has in the meanwhile offered to send a mission to assess Pakistan's requirements under five-year economic assistance programme.

The announcement to this effect was made by the Japanese Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi, during her visit to Islamabad last week at a joint press conference with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri. Ms Kawaguchi who was on her first visit after assuming office of the foreign minister of her country also agreed to continue to hold high level economic consultation with Pakistan and share the view to encourage and support the joint business talks scheduled to be held in Karachi shortly afterwards.

During a briefing session on the conclusion of her visit, the Japanese Foreign Minister said that her country has offered to cooperate with Islamabad in strengthening their non-proliferation regimes and hold consultations in this matter. Both sides confirmed their desire to further improve and strengthen their bilateral relations.

Pakistan side expressed its appreciation for Japan offer to resume its economic assistance programme which Japanese Foreign Minister highly appreciated and even Pakistan's role and contribution on combating terrorism and its economic reforms. She also called upon the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan and assured them of Japan's full supports on these two fronts.

The announcement by the Japanese Foreign Minister, that Tokyo was ready to resume economic assistance to Pakistan is highly encouraging, as it has been offered without any precondition of Pakistan signing NPT. Yoriko Kawaguchi, in accordance with her government's old stand, reiterated the demand that Pakistan and India, the neighboring countries in the sub-continent, should sign non-proliferation agreements of the NPT and the CTBT. She also asked Israel to sign these two treaties. Keeping in view the destruction and human misery caused by dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is but natural for Japan to hope that such a dangerous and tragic experiment would not be repeated anywhere in the world and the mankind protected from the destructive power of atomic devices. It is the focal point of Japan's foreign policy that it raises its voice against making nuclear weapons and their proliferation at every forum. When in May 1998, Pakistan had carried out atomic explosions in response to Indian, Japan had, under its obvious and already well known policy, protested against them and suspended its official development assistance to Pakistan. Before the atomic tests, Pakistan had received 32 installments of this assistance.

 

 

Though Japanese Foreign Minister has asked Pakistan to sign the NPT and the CTBT in pursuance of its old policy in this regard, it has been made quite clear that the resumption of Japanese economic assistance is not conditional to the signing of these treaties. The most important and prominent point of her statement is that Pakistan's role in the international campaign against terrorism is highly laudable and such an example may not be found in any other country. Pakistan's determined efforts for nuclear non-proliferation are also an exceptional and laudable part in reducing the dangers for the world. The visiting foreign minister gave the assurance that Japan is deeply interested in Pakistan's economic progress. Tokyo will not only provide economic assistance to Pakistan but Japanese investors would come in large numbers here and heavily invest in various industrial and commercial fields. She said that Japan was reviewing Pakistan's needs for progress in order to offer soft-term loans. In this connection, a Japanese delegation will soon visit Pakistan.

President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain said, Tokyo is Islamabad's good friend and an important economic partner and it has taken deep interest in the country's social progress since the creation of Pakistan, extending economic and technical cooperation. The people of Pakistan look at it with a sense of appreciation. Now both the countries will benefit with the resumption of economic assistance that was suspended in May 1998. With bright prospects of greater cooperation in the fields of industry and commerce, Pakistan's economic progress will be accelerated. The reconstruction of Japan by its people after the Second World War is an example worth following. Beginning with cottage industries, the government and the people of Japan took their country to that point of industrial progress where in the production of items like automobiles and electronic goods it has even gone ahead of a country like the United States. Today Japan is the second largest economic power of the world. Along with the economic aid and technical expertise from the friendly countries, we should also learn as to how any nation, in spite of hardly having any resources, with the correct planning of its leadership and the untiring of efforts of its people can transform itself into an economic power of the world.

If the various steps taken for the betterment of the economy of Pakistan in the last few years can be made the foundation for continuing the journey with hard work and dedication and the challenges of the time are also kept in mind, then Pakistan can also achieve an important and distinctive place in the economic field.