Pakistan Japan Business Forum (PJBF), which reached its 20th anniversary this month, celebrated its establishment. Kalim Farooqui, President of the PJBF, arranged a dinner reception at his residence at the invitation of the Japanese Ambassador, Kuninori Matsuda, which was also graced by the presence of Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan.
In large part, the event was attended. The members of the Forum, its founding members, business leaders, senior bureaucrats, town officials, as well as members of the diplomatic corps based in Karachi were seen at the gathering. A video clip summarising its activities since its establishment and getting congratulatory messages including Pakistan’s Ambassador to Japan, Imtiaz Ahmed, as well as Pakistan’s new Ambassador to the USA and a former Ambassador to Japan, Dr Asad Majeed Khan, was created on the forum’s 20-year journey.
Explaining the history and activities of the forum, Kalim Farooqui stressed the fundamental need to improve trade and investment and to serve as a crucial bridge between the governments of Pakistan and Japan in order to tackle the obstacles to attracting investment. To this end, the forum is included in the daily Joint Dialogues between the two governments in their efforts to ensure a fair playing field between the two friendly countries’ business communities.
As the Patron-in-Chief of the Forum, the Ambassador of Japan appreciated the forum’s efforts and was overwhelmed by the welcome offered to him by the host and guests, bowing in the Japanese way to show his sincere gratitude. He reaffirmed his efforts to get the citizens of Japan and Pakistan together and spoke about the history of diplomatic relations that will be celebrated next year for 70 years. He also listed the different projects that Japan has helped Pakistan grow and the ongoing ones as well. He stressed both the natural resources and human resources available in Pakistan and called for exploration by Japanese businessmen. He referred to the availability of skilled labour in Pakistan to his own government and claimed that the Government of Japan had already signed a Cooperation Memorandum to accept thousands from Pakistan over the next five years. To this end, Japan’s business community needs to recognise its needs for the sectors agreed by both governments and to expand the cooperation of its Pakistan mission.
In his address, the President highlighted the contact he has recently had with Japan at different levels, including the Prime Minister and the Emperor of Japan. This occurred when he was invited to celebrate Emperor Naruhito’s accession to the throne by the Royalty. The President stressed that Pakistan’s business community should benefit from Japan’s short-term accomplishments, which he attributed to hard and methodical work and the implementation of technology in production processes. Pakistan, he said, is blessed with sufficient human and natural resources that can be put to use for the mutual benefit of both countries if more and more joint ventures are formed. Eager to promote information technology himself, he mentioned the impressive achievement in exports in this field, which is growing by leaps and bounds. He attributed the upward trend to the current government’s cautious fiscal and monetary policies with regard to economic indicators. The stock exchange is also flourishing as a barometer of economic health. Consequently, the outside world now sees Pakistan as a possible destination for trade and investment.
In his vote of thanks, Tetsuya Suematsu, Country General Manager of Marubeni Corporation and Senior Vice Chairman of PJBF, representing the Japanese business community in Pakistan, stressed that Pakistani businessmen should reach out to their counterparts in Japan who understand the potential of Pakistan. Increased Japanese cooperation and paving the way will certainly lead to joint projects and contribute to the economy and job opportunities of Pakistan.