Islamabad: Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono will is due to visit Pakistan, in a bid to further “coordinate” bilateral relations on Jan 3 next year after a gap of nearly nine years.
The Year 2017 sees Pakistan and Japan celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Mr Taro Kono, the Japanese Foreign Minister, is arriving in Islamabad on January 3 for a two day visit at a time when Tokyo says it keeps in mind that, “Pakistan plays an important role for peace and prosperity of the region and that coordination and cooperation between two countries should be further promoted”.
There has been a deep lull in visits by the two sides as it was far back in 2005 when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Pakistan and later it was President Asif Ali Zardari who visited Tokyo in 2011 . The announcement for KONO’s visit was made by the Embassy of Japan but so far there was no word about it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here. Pakistan earlier had been upset and protested an Indo-Japanese joint statement at the conclusion of a visit recently by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which Pakistan was listed as a country sheltering terrorists .
“This visit is expected to reconfirm and strengthen the traditionally friendly relationships between Japan and Pakistan”, says the Japanese Embassy. KONO is expected to meet his counterpart Khawaja Asif and other “high dignitaries” and discuss matters of bilateral relations as well as regional and international situation. However, the Japanese Embassy has not identified who these high dignitaries will be.
Given Japan’s importance it is quite likely that KONO meets with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Army Chief General Qamer Javed Bajwa as has been the norm of other foreign ministers from important world capitals dropping in.
In October this year, Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazuyuki Yamazaki, headed the Japanese delegation to Pakistan to participate at the 10th Round Bilateral Consultation.
Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua headed Pakistan’s delegation where the Foreign Office said that the two sides discussed the evolving peace and security situation in their respective regions including Afghanistan and Korean Peninsula as well as international issues such as disarmament, non-proliferation, Nuclear Suppliers Group NSG),and counter-terrorism besides the situation in Kashmir.
Of great concern to Tokyo is Pakistan’s nuclear policy and episodes in the past when there were cases of nuclear proliferation. Tokyo had said that the international community’s response would be severe, in case a situation on nuclear proliferation arises involving Pakistan again.