Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki on Monday said his country wants to elevate the bilateral ties with Bangladesh to a "strategic" level adding more elements like defence and security areas to the growing relations.

"We have comprehensive partnership. We intend to elevate it. Hopefully we can agree to call our partnership a strategic partnership," he said referring to likely discussion on the issue during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming visit to Japan.

Ambassador Naoki expressed his country's interest to export defence related equipment to Bangladesh which will further be discussed between the two sides.

Sharing Japan's vision for Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), the envoy said this is something very comprehensive but not against any country or contain any country.

He said Japan considers Bangladesh as a partner of FOIP. "We will continue to promote our practical cooperation."

Ambassador Naoki said infrastructure development, connectivity, maritime security and capacity building of security forces are part of the practical cooperation that they promote.

Regarding investment, the envoy said there are challenges but hopefully there will be improvements in terms of investment environment.

The Ambassador was speaking at an event titled "Meet the Ambassador" held in a Dhaka hotel.

Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) hosted it in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Bangladesh.

Zillur Rahman, Executive Director of the Centre for Governance Studies moderated the programme.

Bangladesh will seek Japan's "stronger engagement" in its development efforts through "investment and financing" in major projects during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's forthcoming visit to Japan slated for November 29-December 1, 2022 at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Earlier, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told UNB that Japan is a "good investor" for Bangladesh, and they are implementing major projects.

"The basic idea is Japan is capable of financing and they always finance without any tough conditions. They have technology, too," Momen said.

In May, 2014, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting with Sheikh Hasina in Tokyo and they jointly launched the "Bangladesh-Japan Comprehensive Partnership."

In September same year, Abe held a summit meeting with Hasina in Dhaka.

Japan recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign nation on February 10, 1972, and the year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan.

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