Talent Hwari Herald reporter
Japan is keen to ensure investment and bilateral deals signed with Zimbabwe last year during President Mugabe’s official visit to the Asian country are fully implemented, the country’s outgoing ambassador Mr Yoshi Hiraishi has said. Speaking at his farewell reception last week, Mr Hiraishi said he expected his successor to maintain the momentum created by President Mugabe’s visit to the Asian country.
“We agreed to establish a bilateral policy dialogue mechanism for more and regular interaction,” he said. “I hope that the agreements between us will be put into practice during my successor’s tenure.”
President Mugabe visited Japan in March last year for a bilateral meeting to discuss investment issues, as well United Nations Security Council reforms following an invitation by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The visit was also meant to strengthen ties between Zimbabwe and Japan.
The two leaders signed agreements focusing on general collaboration and another targeting economic cooperation, as well as restoration of the economic co-operation that existed between the two countries since 1980.
Ambassador Hiraishi said the visit offered an opportunity to reawaken and make stronger bilateral relations in the wake of improving ties.
“The visit by President Mugabe afforded the two countries an opportunity to re-kindle and strengthen the bilateral relations,” he said.
After the talks with Prime Minister Abe during the visit, Japan announced development aid worth 600 million Japanese yen (about $5,3m) for Zimbabwe to buy equipment needed for a road development project meant to upgrade the country’s infrastructure.
Mr Hiraishi, who has served as the Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe for a three-year term, is heading for Chile as his country’s next ambassador.
Besides economic cooperation, Japan also offered scholarships to Zimbabwean students who would be interested in studying information communication technologies.
The two countries also agreed to support each other in the push for reforms of the United Nations Security Council.
Since 1989, the Japanese government has been assisting Zimbabwe in the implementation of several grassroots projects in 115 areas all over the country, with Grant aid for Grassroots Projects (GGP) amounting to approximately $10 million.