Uzbekistan-Japan: on the path to further deepen the strategic partnership 

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October 29, 2015

Uzbekistan-Japan: on the path to further deepen the strategic partnership 

On October 24, 2015 the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pay an official visit to our country.

Japan is one of the most significant and reliable partners of Uzbekistan. Relations between our countries have been progressing in the spirit of the signed in 2002, the Joint statement on friendship, strategic partnership and cooperation.

The advancement of successful interaction contributes to an effective political dialogue at the highest level. The official visit of President Islam Karimov in Tokyo in February 2011, gave a powerful impetus to the Uzbek-Japanese relations, and filled them with a new practical content. Following the visit, a package of documents covering economy, trade, investment, financial, technical and other fields was signed. Currently, more than 140 documents formed the legal basis of bilateral relations.

Constructive cooperation within international organizations and institutions has been established. Uzbekistan has consistently supported the candidacy of Japan for permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Official Tokyo, in turn, welcomed the international initiatives of Tashkent.

Parties are actively developing multilateral contacts within the “Central Asia + Japan” format. To date five meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the dialogue were held.

Relationship between parliamentarians of the two countries is also dynamically evolving. The legislature of Japan established Japanese Parliamentary League of Friendship with Uzbekistan and the League of Friendship “Democratic Party of Japan – Uzbekistan». In turn, inter-parliamentary group “The Oliy Majlis – Parliament of Japan” operates in the Oliy Majlis of our Republic.

Since 2002 political consultations have been conducting between the foreign ministries regularly. The fifteenth round took place in February this year in Tashkent.

Japan is an important trading partner of our country. In 2014 bilateral trade amounted to about $ 190 million. However, it is obvious that these figures do not meet the considerable potential of the two countries.

Today, Japan is one of the largest investors in the economy of Uzbekistan. The total amount of investments for the implementation of priority projects in the oil and gas industry, transport, telecommunications, health, education, agriculture and other industries is more than $ 3.4 billion.

The regional offices of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) are promoting the establishment of contacts between the business and public circles, the implementation of grant projects and technical assistance.

An intergovernmental agreement “On liberalization, mutual protection and encouragement of investments”, which came into force on September 24, 2009, contributes to the further growth of interest of Japanese companies to the Uzbek market and the establishment of steadfast relationships with local partners designed for the long term.

The Uzbek-Japanese and Japanese-Uzbek economic cooperation committees, formed in 1994, are of great significance in this process. In January 2015 Tokyo hosted XII joint meeting of these structures, which resulted in a large signed package of investment, loan agreements, and technical assistance projects totaling $ 3.8 billion.

Every year the program of events aimed at strengthening the friendly relations between Uzbek and Japanese peoples is expanding. Demonstrations of Japanese films, art expositions, concerts and performances, master classes of Japanese artists in Uzbekistan are organizing regularly. Only this year “Days of modern Japanese films” and exhibition of national dolls and prints, which aroused great interest among the Uzbek art lovers, are held in Tashkent.

The Japanese garden, which was planted thousands of seedlings cherry in 2001 and “Caravanserai of Culture” Uzbek-Japanese scientific and creative center, opened with the support of a famous artist Ikuo Hirayama in 2002 became one of the most popular places to visit in Tashkent.

In addition, major cities and regions of Japan are constantly hosting the presentation of arts, culture and tourism potential of Uzbekistan. One of the recent highlights in this series was “Days of Uzbekistan in Japan”, organized in the cities of Tokyo and Nagoya.

The friendship society “Uzbekistan-Japan”, established in 1999, largely contributes to the successful advancement of intercultural dialogue. Its main partners are the «Japan-Uzbekistan” Japan Friendship Association and the “Fukushima-Uzbekistan” Association of Cultural and Economic Cooperation, which make a significant contribution to the preservation and evolvement of close relations between the two countries.

A dynamic exchange is also established in the sphere of science and education. In particular, one of the best examples of cooperation between the scientific and academic communities is fruitful joint archeological research in the country. Certainly, it is difficult to overestimate the contribution of famous archaeologist K.Kato to the opening of the monuments of the early Buddhism in the territory of southern Uzbekistan, whose works were appreciated – was awarded the “Do’stlik” order.

Over two thousand Uzbek specialists from the sphere of economics, management, law, telecommunications, health, business, agriculture, tourism, banking and financial sector, transport and others have been interned in Japan via JICA projects.

As part of Japan’s annual government grant 15 students from Uzbekistan are studying in the best Japanese universities. During the period of 1999-2014, 293 people have graduated on this program.

Uzbekistan-Japan Center makes a significant contribution to the training process, which hosts business trainings, Japanese language courses and cultural events.

It can be noted the Similar attention of the Japanese side to the ancient history and sculture of our people. People love and read the works of the great poet and thinker Alisher Navoi. In 2004, a monument of this great literator was established in the territory of Soka University.

In recognition of outstanding services in the promotion of socio-economic reforms in Uzbekistan, ensuring stability and security in the region, as well as the development of culture, education, strengthening of friendly relations with the countries of the world the Japanese Waseda University and Soka awarded the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov with the degree of “Honorary Doctor” in 2002.

Thus, it is clear that a solid foundation for further advancement of multifaceted fruitful cooperation between Uzbekistan and Japan has been build over the past years.

There is no doubt that the official visit of Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe to our country and the Uzbek-Japanese talks will be a landmark event in relations between the two countries and give a new dynamics to the existing potential of bilateral mutually beneficial partnership.