Japanese aid agency may withdraw from Bangladesh

Tokyo: A Japanese governmental agency that carries out aid projects in developing nations may withdraw from Bangladesh after seven Japanese workers were killed in the terror attack at a cafe in capital, Dhaka. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is involved in dozens of projects in the South Asian nation, including building bridges, roads and railways and improving water and sanitation systems, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. A JICA spokeswoman said the agency is considering withdrawing from Bangladesh after the most recent killings. The seven victims in the almost 12-hour terror siege on Holey Artisan Bakery, located in the Gulshan diplomatic area of Dhaka were: Makoto Okamura, 32, Yuko Sakai, 42 and Rui Shimodaira, 27, all of them employees of the Tokyo-based consulting firm Almec Corporation. Other victims were Hideki Hashimoto, 65, Nobuhiro Kurosaki, 48 and Hiroshi Tanaka, 82, who were working for Oriental Consultants Global and Koyo Ogasawara, 56, an employee of Katahira and Engineers International. JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka said those dispatched to Bangladesh had been advised to remain extra vigilant after a Japanese citizen was killed in the northern part of the country in October 2015. According to JICA’s latest annual report, Japan spent 49.3 billion yes ($479 million) on aid projects in Bangladesh between April 2014 and March 2015, including grants.  The agency “has implemented assistance programmes which will accelerate economic growth and help overcome the vulnerability” that Bangladesh is facing, it said.