LAHORE - Japan highly values its ties with Pakistan and despite many odds no hiccup has come about in the way of friendly bonds between the two countries, said Katsunori Ashida, Japanese diplomat in Pakistan while interacting with senior media men on Tuesday.

The discussion was arranged by PML-N media coordinator Muhammad Mehdi while among the participants also included Mowahid Hussaid Syed and Ataur Rahman.

Answering queries Ashida said a number of investors and businessmen wanted to visit and do business but they held back their programme due to any last moment terrorist hit in this country which raised security concerns among them. He said Japan has been pursuing a policy of equality with Pakistan and other countries in the region but the security concerns in Pakistan have been hampering high profile visits from the Japanese side to Pakistan over the last many years.

Despite all that he said, it did not mean Japan undermines the value of ties with Pakistan and added, they are as warm and good as they were on day one. He said Japan regards Pakistan as a very important country vis-à-vis its geo political location and desires this part to be quite peaceful which is in the great interest of Tokyo.

He said in case of peace is established, Japan can even help Pakistan in the construction of bullet train. He said to a question that Japan being victim of the atomic bomb, has a peculiar policy towards the nuclear powers but in that course it does not discriminate with Pakistan.

The diplomat also shed light on the island issue between Japan and Korea and a nuclear Korea being in its neighborhood. He said Japan has a good defence system against the nuclear Korea. He said Japanese ties with Pakistan are not regulated through latter’s relations with China. He said China has its own policy of investment abroad and Japan its own and given the security reasons in Pakistan, Japan can hardly match with the former in respect of investment in this country.

Ashida also highlighted the point that the present Prime Minister of Japan is the grandson of a former prime minister which could be called dynasty politics but a strict merit is observed therein while making such appointments.

In his address, Mehdi said that Japan is a leading economic power and fourth largest trading partner with Pakistan as such Islamabad holds this country among its close friends. He said Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is playing a vital role in various sectors in Pakistan which was highly appreciable.

He said over the last many months a considerable reduction has come about in the terrorist hits in Pakistan following which most parts of the country are quite peaceful. Therefore ground is being leveled to boost confidence of the Japanese investors.