This year, Uzbekistan and Japan celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba provides assessment of the current state and prospects of bilateral cooperation.
“During the past 20 years the two countries have established a friendly and trusting relationship supported by mutual visits and active dialogue at various levels. In particular, the visit of President Islam Karimov to Japan in February last year became an important milestone and significant step for the further relations based on strategic partnership.
“Japan and Uzbekistan are constantly improving the legal framework for practical cooperation. The two nations reached an agreement on cooperation not only among governments but also between local authorities, industrial enterprises, educational, research and cultural institutions, and are actively working on multi-sided relationships.
“Also, Japan and Uzbekistan are cooperating in various projects on regional and international issues. For example, last November the United Nations decided to provide assistance to improve the situation in the Aral Sea through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS), established at the initiative of Japan. The project of Talimarjon Thermal Power Plant, which is funded in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, also deserves attention.
“In turn, Uzbekistan supports Japan’s permanent membership on the UN Security Council in connection with what I would like to once again express my gratitude to the Government of Uzbekistan.
“Speaking of the multilateral relations between our countries, we should note the dialogue ‘Central Asia plus Japan’ conducted with the assistance of Uzbekistan. So, in August 2010 Tashkent hosted the third meeting of foreign ministers. The main purpose of dialogue is to enhance intra-regional cooperation efforts in Central Asia. For stability and prosperity in the region, Japan promotes a cooperative approach to solving common problems in the region. This autumn, the Foreign Ministry of Japan will hold in Tokyo the fourth meeting of foreign ministers within the framework of this dialogue. I think the meeting will be successful and become a significant event to mark the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with countries of Central Asia.
“Given the level of cooperation and the results achieved so far, we are committed to deepening cooperation in the following areas: firstly the environment, energy conservation, renewable energy, secondly within the Millennium Development Goals and the adjustment of the level difference of life, thirdly the cooperation aimed at ensuring stability in Afghanistan, fourth disaster prevention, and fifth the investment.
“In recent years, our two countries have significantly boosted the inter-parliamentary exchanges. In February 2010, we launched a Parliamentary League of Friendship ‘Democratic Party of Japan-Uzbekistan’, where I am a secretary general. Uzbekistan, in turn, set up an inter-parliamentary group ‘Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan-Parliament of Japan’, working on bilateral partnership relations between the parliaments of both countries.
“Official visit of parliamentary delegation of Japan to Uzbekistan in December 2010 became an important event in the development of these ties. We will continue to exert all efforts to expand inter-parliamentary exchanges.
“Educational cooperation is another area of successful partnerships. There is a dynamic academic exchange between the countries. Japan consistently supports in the training of young specialists from Uzbekistan. In particular, as part of the project of training scholarships (JDS) young civil servants working on governance, public policy, economics and law, can pursue master’s degree in Japanese universities. Furthermore, I would like to highlight the activities of the Uzbek-Japanese Human Development Center that celebrated last year its 10th anniversary, which provides comprehensive support in the preparation of entrepreneurs by providing business training.
“The second Uzbek-Japanese academic forum held in October 2011 with the participation of students of both countries at the University of Tsukuba, and the joint meeting of rectors of higher educational institutions of Japan and Uzbekistan at the University of Nagoya on November 1, 2011 attended by more than 10 rectors of leading universities from each country serve an excellent evidence of strengthening the educational cooperation. These events have given a powerful impetus to academic cooperation.
“Japan, being the end point of the Great Silk Road in the east, have borrowed many items from the Buddhist culture of such countries as Persia, India, China, Central Asia, who have come through the Silk Road. Different kinds of cooperation in those days contributed to the interpenetration of cultures and played an important role in friendship ties between our nations.
“Currently, the Japanese have a strong desire to explore the cultural heritage and the history of civilizations and exchanges between East and West through the Silk Road. The people of Japan are also showing great interest in other tourist destinations in Uzbekistan, including the unique architectural monuments of the ancient cities of Samarqand, Bukhoro, Khiva, and the number of Japanese tourists traveling to Uzbekistan is growing every year. This, of course, was buoyed by the air services agreement signed in December 2003, which enabled direct flights between the two countries twice a week. So today Uzbekistan became a Japan’s ‘Gateway to the Silk Road. (Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)
Meeting with Special Representative of Japan’s MFA
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan held a meeting with the Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for Central Asia Toyohisa Kouziki on 4 May 2012.
During the meeting significant issues of bilateral relations were considered and a mutual interest in developing cooperation and regular dialogue between the foreign political establishments were confirmed.
On the same day consultations were held between the ministries of foreign affairs, during which future directions of interactions in political, trade, investment and cultural spheres were discussed.
Special attention was paid to the implementation of agreements, reached during the official visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to Japan in February 2011.
It was noted that long-term joint projects in fundamental sectors of the economy, such as modernization of Talimarjan thermal power station, electrification of Karshi-Termiz railway section, play an important role in Uzbek-Japanese partnership.
The parties also exchanged views on international and regional issues.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan Yoshihisa Kuroda took part in the consultations. (Source: Press-service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan)