President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was in Tokyo on official visit February 8-10.
During his stay in Japan, President Karimov met with Emperor Akihito, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Speakers of higher and lower houses of Japanese parliament Takeo Nishioka and Takahiro Yokomichi, respectively, minister of foreign affairs Seiji Maehara, the leaders and members of parliamentary groups of friendship – DPJ-Uzbekistan and LDPJ-Uzbekistan.
During the talks, the sides carried out an extensive and productive dialogue on the current state and prospects of relations between Uzbekistan and Japan, on a wide array of cooperation areas.
The two sides agreed that bilateral ties have come to be put on a dynamic development track following Uzbekistan's declaration of independence and the subsequent establishment of diplomatic relations in December 1991, built on principles of equality, constructive partnership, mutual interest and respect. The first official visit by President Islam Karimov to Japan in May 1994 instituted a solid foundation for a long-term multidimensional interaction.
The Republic of Uzbekistan and Japan in 2002 signed a Joint Statement on Friendship, Strategic Partnership and Cooperation in Tokyo, a logical outcome of the expanding bilateral interaction.
The political dialogue received an additional boost during the then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's official visit to Uzbekistan in August 2006.
In May 2010, within the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank in Tashkent, President Islam Karimov met with the Japanese delegation headed by Naoto Kan, the present-day Prime Minister.
The two nations have worked out a constructive cooperation within the framework of international organizations and institutions. Uzbekistan is consistently supportive of Japan's aspiration for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. In its turn, Japan backed Uzbekistan's initiative to declare Central Asia a zone free of nuclear weapons.
The two sides have been vigorous in bolstering multilateral contacts within Central Asia + Japan dialogue format.
Inter-parliamentary cooperation has been enhancing between Uzbekistan and Japan.
The most pressing in the development of strategic partnership between the two countries is trade and economic and investment domain.
Today, Japan is one of the major investors into Uzbek economy. The volume of Japanese financial enclosures assigned for the execution of priority projects in hydrocarbon industry, transport, telecommunications, healthcare, agriculture and other sectors has totaled 2.3 billion U.S. dollars, including the government-privileged yen credits worth more than 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, over 280 million dollars in honorary aid, more than 110 million dollars in technical assistance, over 720 million dollars in commercial credits.
Major infrastructure projects have been implemented with the participation of leading Japanese companies that included the construction of Bukhoro and the reconstruction of Farg'ona oil refinery mills, Tashkent train car repair plant, modernization of airports in Uzbekistan's historical towns of Samarqand, Bukhoro, Urganch, digitalization of telecommunications networks of the Republic.
Toshguzar-Boysun-Qumqo'rg'on, a modern railway line in southern Uzbekistan, has been commissioned for use. A joint venture manufacturing buses and trucks in Samarqand in cooperation with the Japanese Isuzu and Itochu corporations, as well as a Sumitomo-owned telecommunications services company have been successfully operating in Uzbekistan. Within the framework of UN Clean Development Mechanism, seven projects are under implementation jointly with Japanese partners.
The intergovernmental agreement on liberalization, mutual protection and encouragement of investments, in force since 24 September 2009, facilitates the growing interest of Japanese companies to Uzbekistan and setting up persistent bonds with Uzbek partners in realization of joint longer-range investment projects.
The Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) operate in Uzbekistan through their representative offices in Tashkent.
In its due contribution to training highly qualified specialists, the Uzbek-Japanese Center in Tashkent bases its syllabi on Japan's experience of economic progress.
Founded in 1994, Uzbek-Japanese and Japanese-Uzbek committees on economic cooperation have been rather instrumental in enlarging trade and economic ties.
The meeting and talks of President Islam Karimov with Prime Minister Naoto Kan proceeded in friendly, candid and constructive atmosphere, traditional for Uzbek-Japanese relations. Along with discussion of extensive agenda over bilateral cooperation in political, economic, social and educational spheres, the parties also exchanged views on international issues.
The Japanese partners stressed Uzbekistan’s key role in ensuring security, stability and sustainable development in the region.
Tokyo supports the efforts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in addressing regional issues, including the use of water resources in Central Asia region based on universally recognized principles of international law with regard to the interests of the region's states.
It was stated that Uzbekistan and Japan were making an important contribution to the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and stabilizing the country. The sides highlighted the necessity for further improving the international assistance to reconstruction and peaceful development of that nation.
The talks touched on the issues of further development of trade and economic, investment and financial cooperation.
During the visit of President Islam Karimov to Japan, the Uzbek delegation signed a few agreements with major companies specializing in high technologies, aimed at attracting Japanese technologies and investment in such rapidly developing sectors of the economy as oil and gas, chemical, petrochemical, power engineering and textile industry.
The sides inked agreements on long-term supply of uranium concentrate, exploration in promising areas in the territory of Uzbekistan, as well as cooperation in production of rare metals and rare earth elements.
National Bank of Uzbekistan for Foreign Economic Activity signed an agreement with leading Japanese banks, Tokyo-Mitsubishi and Sumitomo-Mitsui, on funding joint projects.
The sides reached agreement on enhancing the cooperation in the framework of the Official Development Assistance. The memorandum on economic cooperation signed between the foreign ministries of both countries in the framework of the Official Development Assistance provides for a long-term soft loan for Uzbekistan in yen for the electrification project of Qarshi-Termiz railway.
The memorandum on the development of foreign trade and investment, signed during the visit between the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, provides for greater cooperation and involvement of Japanese high-tech and know-how in the economy of Uzbekistan, energy- and resource-efficient projects.
During the official visit, President Islam Karimov and Prime Minister Naoto Kan signed a joint statement between Uzbekistan and Japan, which reflected an assessment of the current state and prospects of Uzbek-Japanese relations, as well as common approaches to cooperation in the international arena.
The sides noted that the reached agreements and penned documents could reinforce a robust foundation for multifaceted cooperation and create an enabling environment for reliable extensive development of strategic partnership at a higher level.