Pakistan Intensifies Ties With Japan As India Inches Closer To China

Pakistan is aggressively working to boost its ties with Japan while on the other hand – India (Pakistan’s arch-rival) and China (Japan’s traditional foe) have pledged to work together to push forward the development of bilateral ties to a new level. 

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Pakistani COAS – General Bajwa met Sonoura Kentaro, Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs to Japan’s President Shinzo Abe and reemphasised their wish to intensify bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan.

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“During the meeting matters of mutual interest including overall regional security situation were discussed,” read a statement issued by the military’s media wing.

“Visiting dignitary appreciated and acknowledged Pakistan’s positive role in the region. Both reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations including efforts for peace and security in the region,” read the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.

Earlier Kentaro met Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood in Islamabad and held wide consultations on enhancing Pakistan-Japan ties.

Pakistan-Japan Ties

Pakistan and Japan have also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) for import of skilled manpower from the Islamic Republic.

As per a statement, the agreement pertains to “Specified Skilled Workers” and “aims to pave the way for skilled Pakistani workers to get employment opportunities in Japan after clearing the necessary examination”.

Pakistan is one of the ten countries where Japan is looking to recruit skilled manpower besides the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Secretary Aamir Hasan and Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda signed the agreement, which envisions opening up 14 Japanese sectors for Pakistan’s workers, including construction, information technology, nursing, manufacturing and engineering.

“We need to sign this framework to hire Pakistani labour,” announced the Japanese ambassador at the signing, “as Japan is currently facing a serious shortage of workers due to an ageing society and shrinking population.”

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“This cooperation would provide job opportunities for Pakistani workers and beyond that, this framework will create new opportunities for Japan-Pakistan cooperation including education, business and tourism,” Ambassador Matsuda said in his address.

The ambassador encouraged Pakistanis to learn Japanese, saying this would tremendously increase their employment potential. He said education was a key sector that Tokyo wished to help Islamabad with, adding the Japanese embassy would create a network of Japanese language programs to encourage people-to-people exchanges and help students that wished to pursue studies in Japan.

“Japan expects to hire services of 340,000 skilled workers across the world during the next five years but there is no country-specific quota marked for it.”

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“Under this policy, all foreign skilled workers entering Japan for employment would have to pass the skill’s examination and the Japanese basic language test before signing the employment contract with the accepting organisation. This MOC was signed in order to prevent the intervention by malicious intermediary business operators (agents/consultants),” the statement concluded.