'Kurdistan Region has prosperity and stability,' says Japanese envoy to Iraq
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Japanese Ambassador to Iraq Futoshi Matsumoto in an exclusive interview with Kurdistan 24 stated that Kurdistan Region has "prosperity and stability."
The Ambassador also called Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s policy of diversification of the economy “great,” and added that it’s a “Major strategic objective for the Kurdistan Region as well as for Iraq.”
Meanwhile, Matsumoto said that the Japanese NGO International Volunteers of Yamagata (IVY) has been building more than 30 schools around Erbil in particular.
“The majority of them are for internally displaced persons from Ninevah after ISIS came to the region. So next year, this NGO will build another school for Kurdish kids,” he added.
Regarding providing scholarships, the Ambassador explained that every year they have a Japanese government scholarship given to Iraqi students including Kurds, but the number is very limited. “Currently there are only four scholarships but every year at least one student goes to Japan to study for a master’s degree or PhD.”
Speaking of Japan’s initiatives in the Kurdish region, the Japanese diplomat said that this year they completed the construction of the Diraluk Hydroelectric Station.
“We are now in consultation with Erbil and Baghdad about financing an Erbil sewage [treatment]. We have done a lot of water supply stations. Currently, we’re dispatching Japanese experts to consult with the KRG agriculture research center in Erbil to find out what kind of agriculture products would be suitable for export abroad,” he elaborated.
Concerning Erbil-Baghdad disputes, the Japanese envoy stressed that “In the case of Kurdistan, federalism is the only solution and I understand your region has a priority for stronger decentralization in the whole of Iraq. So, this issue should be discussed and consulted between Baghdad and Erbil in a very peaceful way.”
Moreover, he pointed out that they’re very supportive of the implementation of the Sinjar Agreement and revealed that “the Japanese IVY School, built more than one year ago, still continued to be occupied by Sinjar Resistance Units (also known as YBS).” The YBS is believed to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Regarding Japan-Iraq economic ties, Matsumoto said “Export from Iraq to Japan is around $300,000 while Japanese export to Iraq was $600 million dollars last year.”