TOKYO: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on Thursday where both leaders discussed matters of mutual interest and agreed to increase economic cooperation.

Dar highlighted the economic reforms undertaken by the government since it came to power in June 2013, saying the economy “is going in the right direction”.

He informed Aso, who is also Japan’s finance minister, about the successful completion of five reviews by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Extended Fund Facility programme. He hoped the sixth review would be completed by February.

The finance minister also highlighted the challenges facing Pakistan’s economy, including electricity shortage, rehabilitation of internally displaced people (IDPs) and militancy.

He informed the Japanese minister that there was a considerable interest in electricity generation using coal and LNG, and said that investment in the energy sector of Pakistan gave good returns in dollar terms.

Dar — who had earlier met a Mitsubishi Corporation delegation headed by its senior executive vice president and member of board, Hideto Nakahara — informed Aso that Mitsubishi expressed interest in energy projects in Pakistan, provided financing from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) was made available.

Dar said that Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) should also participate in the second phase of energy sector reforms with possibly increased funding, while the Japanese government could also help Pakistan in rehabilitating IDPs.

The Japanese deputy prime minister assured Dar that Japan would continue to cooperate with Pakistan.

Highlighting the steps taken by Japan over the past decade to counter twin problems of recession and deflation, Aso said democracy led to political stability and consistency in economic policies, which gave people confidence to make investments.

In a separate meeting with JBIC vice president at the bank’s headquarters, Dar discussed the possibility of financing Japanese companies that are interested in investing in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan’s economy was undergoing a transformation, especially in the infrastructure and industry sector, and hoped that the Japanese businessmen would avail the opportunity of good returns to their investments.

He informed the JBIC vice president of Japan External Trade Organisation’s (Jetro) plans to establish an 800-square-metre Japan pavilion at the Expo Pakistan to be organised in Karachi in the end of February.

This, he said, was proof that many new companies were looking to do business with Pakistan, some of whom may require financing.

The JBIC vice president welcomed Dar and stated that it was JBIC’s responsibility to support Japanese companies investing abroad.

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