Outgoing Japanese Ambassador Susumu Hasegawa met on Wednesday with President Barzani to bid him farewell as he prepares to leave Iraq.
Ambassador Hasegawa thanked the President and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for their support and assistance. He discussed Japan’s relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as well as the projects that Japanese institutions are currently carrying out in the Region.
President Barzani thanked Ambassador Hasegawa for the longstanding effort that Japan has made in helping to support the development of the Kurdistan Region and commended the Ambassador on his personal contribution.
The President noted in particular the valuable efforts that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has made over the past several years, commenting that their contributions have helped to improve the Region’s infrastructure and have provided training to many people in the Kurdistan Region.
Both sides also discussed the possibility of developing stronger ties, and President Barzani expressed his hope that relations will continue to grow in both the public and private sectors. Ambassador Hasegawa said that Japanese companies are ready to participate in the further development of Kurdistan, such as the recent collaboration of Japanese Agricultural experts with the KRG Ministry of Agriculture and a Japanese-funded training programme being implemented by UNESCO.
Ambassador Hasegawa also met the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, to discuss Japan’s activity in Kurdistan and recent developments in the broader region.
Thanks largely to the enhanced trade contacts between Japan and Iraq made possible through the efforts of JICA, economic ties have grown substantially in recent years. The Japanese automotive industry has seen much success in Iraq, and recent discussions in the private sector have concerned the potential for the manufacturing of Japanese automobiles domestically.
In May this year, the first meeting of the new Japan-Iraq Joint Economic Committee was held in Tokyo, focusing on the importance of promoting trade and investment between the two countries, and on Japan's desire to further aid in the infrastructure development and rebuilding of Iraq.