13 March 2012, 18:21
Japan can contribute to Kazakhstan's economy modernization using its technology and capital - Ambassador Yuzo Harada
ASTANA. March 13. KAZINFORM Our country is implementing large-scale economy modernization programs requiring the creation of modern high-tech industries and training of qualified personnel. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his address to the people "Social and Economic Modernization - the Main Vector of the Development of Kazakhstan" gave instructions to improve the investment climate in the country.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Kazakhstan Yuzo Harada told about the prospects for developing cooperation between Kazakhstan and Japan in his exclusive interview with Kazinform.
Mr. Ambassador, Kazakhstan and Japan have developed a good relationship of mutual respect and mutually beneficial partnership, signed several agreements on economic cooperation. How do you assess the level of implementation of these agreements?
First of all, it should be noted that the economic relations between Japan and Kazakhstan are developing well. I would like to recall such moments: in 2006 the then Prime Minister Mr. Junichiro Koizumi visited Kazakhstan, and the following year the then Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Mr. Amari also visited your country. In 2008 President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid an official visit to Japan. During those visits our countries signed a number of agreements and memoranda. Under these agreements, there has been successfully developing cooperation between the Japanese private companies and the Kazakh state-owned enterprises, especially in the mining of uranium and rare earth metals.
After Kazakhstan gained independence with the official assistance of Japan there was carried out a number of projects. For example, the construction of the Astana international airport, the water supply and sewage system in Astana, the road bridge over the Irtysh River in Semey.
Our country has developed and is implementing ambitious plans to modernize the economy. One of them is the State Program of Forced Industrial Innovative Development. Kazakhstan invites Japanese companies to participate in it. Does your business wish to participate in the implementation of major industrial projects in Kazakhstan?
Until recently, Japanese companies have been more interested in cooperation in the development of natural resources of Kazakhstan. But the government of your country wants to ensure that Kazakhstan's economy is comprehensively developed and not dependent on natural resources. Here the Japanese companies can make a significant contribution. We have a joint commission of the governmental and private sectors of Japan and Kazakhstan for economic cooperation, which already held three meetings. The first meeting was held in Astana in 2009, the second in Tokyo in 2010, and the third was again in Astana last year. Each year the number of participants in these meetings is increasing. After the third meeting last year our countries started to develop a roadmap for economic cooperation. It is important that many Japanese businessmen believe that in recent years Kazakhstan has improved its business climate. Among them there is also the view that it can and should be improved even more. In general, Japanese firms respond positively to proposals for cooperation with the Kazakh side. As part of the roadmap there is a series of specific projects, which are studied by Japanese companies, and I think that these projects will be implemented in the future.
In Kazakhstan's society there are certain concerns about nuclear power plants and, in particular, it is associated with the accident at the nuclear power plant in Japan. What can you say about this? What is the attitude to nuclear power in Japan?
Unfortunately, the accident at the nuclear power plant "Fukushima-1" posed a threat and was the reason to doubt the prospects for the peaceful use of nuclear power. We are committed to carefully study the causes of the accident and learn from this lesson. We will share the obtained results with the international community. In this connection it is planned to hold an international ministerial conference in the city of Fukushima in December this year to discuss the results of research into the causes of the nuclear accident at Fukushima.
Of course, after the accident at this plant the Japanese people are still worried. Therefore, the Government of Japan aims to ensure transparency and openness in the study of the situation, so that people can have full information and may discuss the problem. Our Government understands that people's negative attitude to the use of nuclear energy will not disappear until the government provides the highest level of security. Therefore, the Government is trying to share information with the population and, as I said, trying to learn a lesson from this accident.
In general, the promotion of peaceful use of nuclear energy is an important task for the international community, and Kazakhstan. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as far as I know, actively puts forward initiatives to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and Japan is ready to cooperate with Kazakhstan in this regard.
In what areas should Kazakhstan and Japan develop cooperation?
This year we mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Kazakhstan. During these 20 years we have successfully developed and strengthened the friendly relations. If we talk about the volume of trade turnover between our countries, last year it reached USD 1.6 billion increasing by 50 percent in comparison with 2010. I believe, our countries will continue this tendency in the future. I also think that using its technology and capital Japan can contribute to the Kazakh Government's efforts on making Kazakh economy comprehensive and not dependent on natural resources. In addition to bilateral cooperation there is a number of areas in which our two countries could cooperate in the international arena.
As for the humanitarian and cultural cooperation, in this area, as well as in economic, our countries have not yet used all the available potential. Since 2012 is a jubilee year, when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations, the Embassy of Japan is planning a series of cultural events. For example, this month Almaty will host a festival of Japanese culture, and Astana will enjoy the festival of Japanese films.
Thank you for the interview.
Tags: Energy , Kazakh President's Adress 2012 , Foreign policy , Kazakhstan and Asia , 20 years of Independence , Economy
Did you find a mistake? Highlight it and click CTRL+ENTER
Kazakh Ambassador to China: 'Kazakhstan-2050' Strategy and 'Chinese Dream' for benefit of two states
Kazakhstan's way of interreligious and interethnic dialogue sparks interest of int'l community -Moscow round table
There is no uncontrolled growth of tariffs for utilities in Kazakhstan - Chairman of Agency for Regulation of Natural Monopolies Murat Ospanov