Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Japan as a time tested and all-weather friend of Bangladesh has been contributing to the country’s socio-economic development for the last four decades, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has said.
“I firmly believe, Bangladesh-Japan bilateral relations will further be widened and deepened in the coming years for the greater benefit of our two peoples,” she said at a reception marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital Dhaka Saturday evening.
The foreign minister said over the last forty years Japan has provided grants and loans in multifaceted programs in Bangladesh. 
She said the Japanese government continues to extend assistance in the forms of aid, technical cooperation and soft loans to a wide range of areas.
These include infrastructure, education, human resource development, health, water and sanitation, disaster management, agriculture and rural development, power and energy, environment protection and climate change. 
The Meghna-Gumti bridge and Sonargaon Pan Pacific Hotel symbolize the mutual bond and fraternity.
Japan is the largest bilateral donor for Bangladesh. Between 1972 and 2011, Bangladesh received a total commitment of around US$ 10 billion as Japanese assistance. 
In 2011, a total of US$ 670 million financial loan has been accorded to Bangladesh through the 32nd Yen loan package. 
The two-way trade volume has reached $1.52 billion in 2011. The export from Bangladesh to Japan has been recorded at $434 million in 2010-2011, which is on increase after granting GSP facilities by Japan to Bangladesh products. 
Dipu Moni said enormous scope is there to increase the bilateral trade in many of the potential sectors of both the countries.
Japan, being a leading source of investment for Bangladesh, 208  Japanese companies have registered for investment of $1.24 billion by December 2011 with employment opportunity for 45, 000 people.
Recalling the earthquake and tsunami last year, the foreign minister said 
Bangladeshi people are happy to see that Japan continues steadily to overcome the great human tragedy and destruction of property. 
On this First Anniversary, she expressed Bangladesh’s deepest sympathy to the thousands of people of Japan who have lost their near and dear ones and endured colossal loss of properties during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. 
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Shiro Shadoshima also spoke at the reception.
BBN/SSR/AD-04Mar12-2:40 pm (BST)