The 31-point joint declaration, issued at the conclusion of President Asif Ali Zardari's three-day visit to Japan, states both countries decided to further strengthen mutual relations, encouraging private institutions, to start joint ventures, and enhance cooperation in the fields of finance, banking institutions, agriculture, food, mineral development and energy sector for the sake of enhancing comprehensive partnership.
Peace and Stability
The Pakistani president and the Japanese prime minister reemphasized that peace and stability in South Asia is necessary for peace and prosperity in Asia but throughout the world. Earlier on, during comprehensive dialogue between the two leaders, both countries decided to strengthen mutual relations as well as trade and economic ties by promoting comprehensive partnership.
The president also called on Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara. The president said that Japan was an important friend and trade and development partner of Pakistan. There was a need to further promote the existing cooperation, he said. He emphasized on the need for Japanese cooperation in various fields, including trade, development, security, energy and institutional capacity building. The Japanese foreign minister assured continuing Japanese assistance for revival of the Pakistani economy.
President Zardari's visit to Japan highlights the continuity of stable relations between Pakistan and Japan. There is no doubt about the fact that Japan has played a significant role in providing technical assistance in Pakistan's social, economic, academic, technical life in addition to financial assistance and cooperation for development. In view of the changing regional situation, Japan's support of the Pakistani viewpoint shows the deep relations and mutual trust between people of the two countries. There is no doubt that relations between the two countries will be further strengthened because of the president's recent visit.
Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes
President Zardari exchanged views with the Japanese leadership on an important issue and highlighted Pakistan's concern in that regard. He said that why cannot Japan cooperate with Pakistan in the field of nuclear energy, and provide it nuclear energy for peaceful purposes if it can do the same for India? Pakistan also deserves that and there is no justification of denying Pakistan nuclear technology. The president made it clear that India had forced us to become a nuclear power. Pakistan does not want to join the arms race in the region. There is no truth in the media reports that the number of our nuclear weapons is greater than those of India. The fact is that the United States showed discrimination against Pakistan with regard to civilian nuclear deal, and refused to provide nuclear technology to Pakistan for its economic and social development in spite of its needs and insistence. This was the gist of the president's earlier interview with the Japanese media, in which he was asked if he would raise the issue of nuclear cooperation during his meetings with the Japanese officials. The president said that he did not know what questions will be raised at that point. He said that the objective behind his visit is to apprise the Japanese Government and people of the situation and challenges confronting Pakistan. The president emphasized on the Japanese automakers to install plants in Pakistan.
A delegation of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Japan also called on the president. On the occasion, the president said that PPP activists should make every effort for welfare and development of the Pakistani community in Japan.
This was his second visit to Japan after he took charge of the president's office. Meeting with Japanese Emperor Akihito and formal negotiations with Prime Minister Naoto Kan were part of this visit's schedule. During the meetings, mutual relations, regional situation and important regional and international issues were reviewed.
Zardari also called on members of the Japanese cabinet and MPs, in addition to renowned businessmen. It is good news that Pakistan and Japan, while agreeing to have close cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, defense, education, health, disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation, decided to continue dialogue and political consultation, and to start joint ventures.
In his meeting with President Zardari, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, while reiterating his resolve for full cooperation with Pakistan in the war on terror, emphasized on regional peace and stability and showed interest in playing role in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). He said that Japan would fully cooperate with Pakistan in water and power resource management and infrastructural development.
Both leaders decided to enhance contacts between MPs, traders, youth, and public in addition to training of defense officials and cooperation between the two countries' military education institutions. The Pakistani Government will work on simplifying the process of issuing visa and granting immunity to Japanese traders and tourists.
In his meeting with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda, the president said that Pakistan considered Japan a large market for its exports and desired joint ventures, consortium and trade contacts with Japan.
Addressing the Japan-Pakistan Business Cooperation Committee, President Zardari declared that strong economy was inevitable for victory against the terrorists and their supporters. He also emphasized on the need to provide employment opportunities to the people. The president recalled to the Japanese leaders that the government took courageous steps for improving the demolished economy, which he had inherited and adopting the way of reconciliation with all political forces instead of repeating the history of political clashes. As a result of this consensus, extraordinary constitutional changes have taken place.
Despite ravages of floods and international economic depression, the Pakistani economy is improving. It is expected that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by 2.3 percent this year. Pakistan is a natural course for trade and energy for Central Asia and Western Asia. The Japanese investors can fully utilize Pakistan through joint and individual economic ventures. The investors will be provided full security and all the possible facilities.
Demand of Situation
President Zardari's visit basically springs from the need that Pakistan-Japan relations should move toward mutual social and economic development and technical information, practical sharing and financial assistance from Japan should be utilized in the best possible manner to eradicate the social and economic problems confronting the country.
There is a need to follow the Japanese strategy to end uncertainty. Academic, practical, and technical capacity of every individual should be built so that the country takes rapid strides to development on modern footings. It is regretting to note that a UNDP [United Nations Development Program] report has disclosed that Pakistan lags behind Laos, the smallest country on the world, in terms of human development in the list of 169 countries. Pakistan stands 125th throughout the world. If we closely review president's visit and Pakistan-Japan friendship, they have positive message for us, namely social and economic stability, and coordinated effort in that regard is the demand of the situation.