Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to pay a three-day visit to Japan on May 28-31 which both sides think will give a "big boost" to the growing relations between the two countries.

"We're expecting something big during the visit," a diplomat told UNB without elaborating further about the planned visit. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eagerly waiting to receive her in Japan.

Japan will sign an agreement with Bangladesh on providing $2.5 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) during Prime Minister's visit to Tokyo at the end of this month.

The amount in the 40th ODA agreement will be 35 percent higher than that of last year, said Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi when he met Hasina at the Ganobhaban on Monday.

The year 2021 is the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh, and the following 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

"The coming years will be very important for our two countries. Towards this anniversary, we're working hard to enhance our bilateral relations even further," Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Hiroyasu Izumi told UNB in an interview in April.

In celebration of this anniversary, Bangladesh and Japan are expecting to see more and more interaction between the two countries, including cultural and people-to-people exchanges in the years to come.

Several cooperation projects were launched with the successful mutual visits by the two Prime Ministers -- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- in 2014.

Bangladesh is now "focused" as a country of tremendous potential for development and attracting more and more foreign companies for investment, said an official.

Japanese Ambassador Izumi has said the Special Economic Zone for Japanese investors in Bangladesh-and the One Stop Service Act-are likely to attract more Japanese companies; especially in the fields of food, commodity products, light industry, and ICT.

"Since the year 2008, the investment from Japan to Bangladesh has been expanding and the trend is getting stronger, especially after 2011," he said.

This trend, Ambassador Izumi said, is likely to continue for the coming years; considering the competitive labour force and the size of the market of Bangladesh with its large, young population.

"And to commemorate these anniversaries, a number of big development projects are underway," said the Japanese envoy.

He said: "As in the past - I'm confident - Japan will continue to be our trusted partner in our endeavor to realize Prime Minister Sheikh Hashina's "Vision 2021".

The Japanese Ambassador said Japan has always been the single biggest bilateral development partner for Bangladesh.

Last year, the amount of ODA, Official Development Assistance, to Bangladesh is around two hundred billion yen, which is equivalent to about US$ 1.8 billion.

The envoy expects that the number of Japanese investors will rapidly increase in the coming years. Now 279 Japanese companies are working in Bangladesh, according to Japanese Embassy in Dhaka.

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