THE Second Republic has made significant progress in its economic and political agenda, putting the country on the right footing for improved relations with the international community.
In an interview on the sidelines of the recent 2021 Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual congress in Victoria Falls, Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Satoshi Tanaka said the two countries enjoy and will continue to cement cordial relations.
Japan will remain an all-weather friend and Ambassador Tanaka pledged the Asian country’s continued support for the country’s engagement and re-engagement policy at a time the US and its Western Allies have maintained illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“I believe there have been challenging situations in Zimbabwe but I understand that Government has been making every effort to implement political and economic reforms and has made progress so far. I really believe that these kinds of efforts in the reform agenda will further strengthen relations and improve those situations in the future with all countries, whether east or west,” said Mr Tanaka.
While opting not to directly comment on sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by America and her allies, Mr Tanaka said the country’s policy of engagement and reengagement was paying dividends.
“The sanctions issue is a difficult question and I am not in a position to comment on it, but I really hope that the internal reform process will lead to the international situation to further improve. We have had long good relations between Japan and Zimbabwe since independence,” he said.
Mr Tanaka said there is growing appetite for investment in Zimbabwe by Japanese businesses.
He said the ZNCC congress had given him an opportunity to interact with the country’s industrialists.
He said Japanese companies would be interested in investing in Zimbabwe especially in the digital and information communication technologies sector.
He said there is also potential in Zimbabwe’s vast natural resources.
“I am not sure how Japan can directly contribute to those kinds of reforms but focus now should be on
integrating Zimbabwe into regional and international economies so that it can fully exploit its abundant resources that include minerals,” Ambassador Tanaka.
He said in his engagement with members of the ZNCC he discussed how Japanese companies could invest in the different sectors of the economy.
Ambassador Tanaka said part of his mission is to link Zimbabwe businesses to Japanese investors to further promote the two countries’ interests.
Zimbabwean citizens and businesses have been feeling adverse effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the US and its Western allies.
Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform programme which was implemented at the turn of the millennium, led to US imposing illegal and unjustified sanctions under the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zdera) of 2001 and the Executive Sanctions (Executive Order 13288) of March 2003.
To help Zimbabwe lobby for the lifting of the illegal sanctions, Sadc Heads of State declared at the 2019 Sadc summit that 25 October be a day when member states collectively campaign against the sanctions.