Japan will not cut development assistance to Bangladesh despite the severe earthquake on March 11 and the following tsunami and the nuclear disaster that hit hard the major Asian economy.
Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Dhaka Dr Takao Toda in an interview told the news agency yesterday that his country would not change the commitments of providing assistance to Bangladesh development projects including the Padma Bridge and grand metro rail in the capital despite its internal crisis.
“Our commitment to Bangladesh would not change at all regardless of the internal crisis due to the massive earthquake and the tsunami,” Dr Toda said.
He said though Japan’s economy had severely been affected by the natural and industrial disasters, it would stay beside Bangladesh in extending its all kinds of development cooperation.
“The earthquake will not hinder our bilateral relations, rather the upward trend of Japanese assistance to Bangladesh will continue,” Dr Toda said.
He said the intensity of earthquake and the tsunami was very high, but it was not true that the capital city of Tokyo was paralysed. “Japan government and the people are working very hard to keep everything on the right track including the international cooperation,” Dr Toda said.
He thanked the Bangladesh government and the people saying that the quick and heartfelt response from the international community including Bangladesh helped Japan greatly face the crisis.
He hoped that Japan would be able to recover the loss of the disaster soon as the affected people in Japan so far showed very resilient while were helping each other without panicking or fighting for food or other things.
While contacted for comments on JICA’s assurance, Communication Minister Syed Abul Hossain said the government under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina and the people appreciate Japan’s assurance of keeping continuous assistance despite the natural catastrophes.
“We greatly value the high ethical standard of commitment extended by the Japanese government for building the country’s largest infrastructure project like Padma Bridge and the metro rail,” the minister said.
JICA is providing US $400 million of the $2.9 billion Padma Bridge project and is conducting feasibility study to set up metro rail in the capital for easing traffic gridlock