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Only dialogue can solve disputes, says CG of Japan

Only dialogue can solve disputes, says CG of Japan

KARACHI: “Japan has territorial disputes with three neighbouring countries [Russia, South Korea and China] but we believe that these problems could only be resolved through a dialogue process under international law.”

This was stated by the Consul General of Japan in Karachi Akira Ouchi during a lecture on the relations between Pakistan and Japan, held at Karachi University (KU) on Wednesday.

Though his remarks had no explicit reference to the recently cancelled meeting between officials of Pakistan and India, the comment made by Mr Ouchi seemed to be in the background of the planned meeting that failed to take off.

“I can’t dwell on international territorial disputes involving India. Basically, force never solves a problem. Dialogue is the ultimate method to settle an issue. Endeavours have to be made, though the dialogue process can take a lot of time,” he said in response to a question, while appreciating Pakistan for sending its troops for peace-keeping purposes in different countries.

Japan, he said, was the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombing during war and has learnt many lessons from this tragic experience.

“The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Since the end of the war, Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation and has tried to build trust within the international community,” he said, adding that the country’s foreign policy was also based on the principle to actively pursue the cause of peace.

On trade relations between Pakistan and Japan, he said that the total volume of trade between Japan and Pakistan stood at $1.6 billion in 2013-2014. Export from Pakistan accounted to about $0.2 billion and import from Japan was $1.4 billion.

Up to the year 2005, he informed the audience, almost 60pc of exports from Pakistan to Japan were textile related. Cotton yarn accounted for about 40pc of textile related exports from Pakistan to Japan. By the year 2012, the ratio of textile items dropped to 24pc while export of chemical products increased to over 25pc.

“The major reason behind the decline in textile item export was decline in the demand of fabric made from cotton in Japan. Pakistan’s imports from Japan were mostly related to machinery equipment in the textile sector in the past.

“But now the imports of automobile related products account for 46pc while the import of machinery, including textile sector, only accounts for 19pc,” he explained.

Major drop in FDI

According to Mr Ouchi, Pakistan’s total foreign direct investment (FDI) dropped from $3.7bn in 2008 to $1.4bn in 2013. The FDI from Japan to Pakistan reduced from $131m in year 2008 to $31m in 2013.

“The reasons for low FDI into Pakistan is poor law and order situation, electricity crisis and, thirdly, inconsistency in economic policies. These factors, along with infrastructure development, are very important in order to attract foreign investment,” he said.

He also talked about the Japanese official development assistance (ODA) to Pakistan and said that the schemes of cooperation ranged from technical cooperation, grant aid and ODA loans in various sectors.

“Japan provided timely emergency assistance to Pakistan at the time of disasters in previous years. It has granted more than 300 assistances to Pakistan through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project. The Consulate General of Japan in Karachi has so far implemented 14 projects since 2009 to meet the basic human needs of locals,” he observed.

Education is key

Mr Ouchi emphasised that education, especially in the areas of science and technology, was one of the most important factors for development. “Japan has no natural resources but has only human resources, who are very well-educated.

Human resources in Japan have qualities such as sincerity, honesty, dedication, discipline, punctuality and consideration for others. These characteristics are as important as having technical skills.

“The Japanese people with these qualities rose from the ashes of World War II and are now rising again after the Great East Japan earthquake,” he noted.

In Japan, according to him, about 98pc of junior high school graduates go on to high schools and the rate of high school graduates who go on to study at a higher level is about 80pc, including 50pc going on to universities and 30pc going on to junior colleges or technical schools.

“The number of foreign students at Japanese universities continues to increase, reaching over 140,000 in 2010. About 97pc of these students are from Asia.

“There are programmes such as the Japanese government scholarship and invitation programmes to visit Japan for one or two weeks for university students and high school students from Saarc countries including Pakistan,” he said.

KU vice chancellor Dr Mohammad Qaiser thanked the consul general for visiting the educational institution and requested him to look into expanding Japanese academic support for Pakistani students.

KU registrar Dr Moazzam Ali Khan and dean faculty of social sciences Prof Moonis Ahmer also spoke.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015

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