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Jun 11, 2018

Tourism, urban infrastructure development, disaster management and Japanese language education

potential areas of cooperation says Japanese Ambassador

PATNA, 11 June 2018: Japanese Ambassador Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu today identified tourism, urban infrastructure development, disaster risk management and Japanese language education as potential areas of cooperation between Bihar and Japan. He was addressing the first series of Dialogue with States- 'Japan meets Bihar' jointly organised by FICCI's Forum of Parliamentarians and the Embassy of Japan in Patna.


"Japan helped develop Bihar???s tourism infrastructure as far back as in 1988, improving hundreds of kilometres of National & State Highways as well as water supply & electricity distribution facilities for tourism promotion. Drawing on our common heritage, the exchanges between the two peoples could be augmented by such investment in tourism," said Mr. Hiramatsu.


Ambassador Hiramatsu elaborated four areas of cooperation between Japan and India. "The first area of cooperation is what we call strategic connectivity. Bihar is a critical logistical bridge between Delhi and Kolkata metropolitan economies, and vital gateway to the North Eastern Region and ASEAN. There is great potential for cooperation between Japan and Bihar to further enhance connectivity. The second area is finding solutions to the overwhelming urban problems, be it environment pollution, waste, and sewerage. The third area of cooperation is disaster risk management and the fourth area is people to people exchange including tourism."

He added "Bihar is the State best suited to inaugurate this new initiative. This State is not only the 'Heart of India', but also represents the spiritual and religious ties which ushered in the long, deep and wide-ranging relationship between Japan and India. Honourable Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited Nara Prefecture including Todaiji Temple in February 2018, and discussed with Nara Governor, Mr. Shogo Arai, about pursuing a friendship arrangement between the State of Bihar and Nara Prefecture. I strongly hope that future-oriented cooperation between the two provinces with common Buddhist heritage will be materialized".

Mr. Chanchal Kumar, Principal Secretary, Government of Bihar said, "Firstly, we are interested in semi-high speed rail linkage 'Ahimsa Rail' for the tourist places on Buddhist circuit. We have asked for financial and technological support to connect tourist locations of Patna, Gaya, Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Nalanda. Secondly, as Japan is highly experienced and efficient in handling natural disasters and as Bihar is a disaster prone state with constant threat of floods and earthquakes, cooperation in technological and management skills for disaster management would be welcome. Thirdly, for strengthening our traditional and cultural bonding, we proposed to have a twinning agreement between the Japanese Prefecture Nara and the state of Bihar."

Mr. Harshvardhan Neotia, Past President, FICCI and Chairman of FICCI's Forum of Parliamentarians Council, "To further deepen the outreach, FICCI in partnership with the Embassy of Japan has launched a Dialogue Series with States focusing on the growing convergence in the political, economic and strategic interests of the nation at national and state level. As Mahatma Gandhi said, India lives in its villages. For FICCI, it is very important as India's national industry association to connect to states as that is where real economic progress, innovation and development are initiated. It is increasingly important to form the international connect as well, as we see states reaching out to countries abroad for partnerships for development."

As the Chair of FICCI's India Japan Forum of Parliamentarians, Mr. Bhupender Yadav expressed optimism by saying "I always encourage interactions like this to establish the linkages among elected members, academics and industry representatives. Exchanges like this endeavour to fortify the people to people connect which is one of the primary pillars of India Japan collaboration. India's partnership with Japan has always been special. I am confident that India and Japan collaboration with focus to Bihar will flourish in the years to come."

Dr. Shaibal Gupta, Director, ADRI and Mr. KPS Keshri, President Bihar Industries Association also shared their views.

Dialogue Series with States is an attempt to holistically analyze bipartisan views and rational analysis of the evolving Japan - India relations with focus to the specific states or region. The Japanese Ambassador to India, Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu in April 2018 had announced that Japan Embassy and FICCI's India Japan Forum of Parliamentarians will jointly organize a Dialogue with Indian States, in which they will hold seminars to highlight geo-political and geo-economic aspects of cooperation between Indian States and Japan that are of interest to Indian MPs, industry and academics in States. He conveyed that the bilateral relations have gone deeper and wider to a level to have strategic engagements at the State level.


Dialogue with States- 'Japan meets Bihar' brought together a comprehensive group of stakeholders comprising elected representatives, senior industry members of the region, representatives from  industry and policy makers and Indian and state government officials to deliberate upon the harmony of both our democracies through the geo-economic prism.






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