Japan on Sunday expressed ‘grief’ over the loss of lives in recent violence in Bangladesh and ‘concern’ about its negative impact on investment.
The ambassador Shiro Sadoshima said he hopes the spirit of democracy characterised by ‘peaceful dialogue and mutual understanding’ will prevail.
“…and that investment friendly atmosphere be reestablished by the efforts of all concerned parties and the segments of the society,.” Sadoshima said, after the signing of the 34th Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan Package worth $ 1.03 billion .
This is the largest ever ‘loan package’ for Bangladesh.
The ambassador’s remarks comes in the wake of violence and atrocities across Bangladesh unleashed by the Jamaat-e-Islami after its senior leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was awarded death sentence on Feb 28 for his role during the War of Liberation in 1971.
The party had sided with Pakistan during the war and raised ‘auxiliary forces’ to crush the freedom struggle. It has been opposing the war crimes trial since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government initiated them in 2010.
Nearly 70 people died in recent violence even as the protest movement calling for death for convicted ‘war criminals’ intensified.
As different countries have expressed their concerns over the violence, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni briefed foreign diplomats in Dhaka on Thursday.
She sought support of the international community for the trial to purge Bangladesh of the culture of impunity and urged them take ‘a holistic perspective’ about the ongoing trials and its significance for the nation building efforts.
The ambassador hoped that the situation would improve and more Japanese investors would come to Bangladesh.
The $1.03 billion loan package will be utilised in four projects from infrastructure development to renewable energy development.
Japan is the single largest bilateral development partner of Bangladesh, according to Ministry of Finance, having committed $11 billion since 1971 when the country came into being. About $7billion has been utilised so far.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and JICA Chief Representative Takao Toda were present during the signing ceremony.