Japan’s impression about Bangladesh dramatically changed, says Japanese expert
Bangladesh's continuous efforts to improve infrastructural facilities and the ease of doing business will encourage Japanese companies to invest in Bangladesh in a bigger way, says a top Japanese business leader.
"Well-established infrastructures are a must with easier administrative procedures," General Secretary of Japan-Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation Kazuo Nishitani told UNB at his office in Tokyo.
He said people in Bangladesh have a very "high level of seriousness and skills" with stable political and economic growth making Bangladesh a good destination for investment.
Nishitani, also Secretary General of Japan International Chamber of Commerce, said Bangladesh's initiative to have special economic zone for Japanese investors will help attract more investment from Japan.
Talking about broader investment environment in the region, the Japanese business leader said infrastructure is not yet well established in the region with improvement in some countries which could be one of the barriers to investment.
He said sometimes the administrative process takes too much time with complicated procedures. "Quick changes in tax policies are problem, too and it should be stable."
The Japanese business leader said Japanese companies prefer to invest in those countries where they feel safe and where there is a political and economic stability.
He said many industries will be interested to invest in textile, food industry, automobile and its supporting industries once infrastructure facilities are in place.
Nishitani said there is public-private joint dialogue between Bangladesh and Japan and such joint dialogue is working very well.
Since the year 2008, the investment from Japan to Bangladesh has been expanding and the trend is getting stronger, especially after 2011, according to the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka.
Japan has been the single biggest bilateral development partner for Bangladesh and the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Bangladesh from Japan last year hit the US$ 1.8-billion mark.
Talking to UNB, Ryohei Kasai, a visiting researcher at Centre for South Asian Studies, Gifu Women's University, said Bangladesh, in just 15 years, has showed a very good example that a country can change fast with a solid economic growth. "It's surprising and it's very good news."
He said Japanese people did not have that much good impression about Bangladesh when he had visited Bangladesh 15 years ago. "It was mostly negative things - poverty, flood and violence."
The Japanese South Asian affairs expert said Japanese people's impression about Bangladesh has changed dramatically in the past 15 years.
"I do hope this trend will continue in the coming years. Japan can help Bangladesh achieve its development goals ahead to have more stable and robust economy," Kasai said.
The government has vision to advance Bangladesh as a developing country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
The Japanese expert said it is very important for Bangladesh to move ahead and put in its efforts to make the economic growth sustainable.
Bangladesh's economy posted record high growth of 8.1 percent and is close to achieving double-digit growth, data shows.
Since 2009, Bangladesh's economy has grown by 188 percent in size and per-capita income has surpassed $1,909, according to available data.