Brief History of Pakistan-Japan Bilateral Relations

Historical links between the peoples of the two countries date back to pre-historic times. Around 1930, a chair for Urdu language was established in Tokyo University and Takushoku University. Since then, the research on Urdu language and on people of the region started in Japan.

Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the two countries enjoyed cordial and friendly relations. At the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference, Pakistan was the only major country invited from South Asia (as China was not invited, and India and Burma stayed away from the Conference for their own reasons). At the conference, Pakistan delegation led by Foreign Minister Sir. Zafarullah Khan strongly argued for treating Japan with respect. Sir Zafarullah made a historical speech noting that "The peace with Japan should be a premised on justice and reconciliation, not on vengeance and oppression. In future Japan would play an important role as a result of the series of reforms initiated in the political and social structure of Japan which hold out a bright promise of progress and which qualify Japan to take place as an equal in the fellowship of peace loving nations".

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 28th April 1952, Pakistan-Japan relations have steadily progressed. Soon after the San Francisco Peace Conference, Pakistan was one of the very few countries which opened their commercial office in Japan. Similarly, Japan opened one of its earliest trade offices in Karachi. In 1952, Pakistan opened its Embassy in Tokyo. Mr. Mian Ziauddin became the first Ambassador of Pakistan to Japan. In early 50's Pakistan was a major import destination for raw cotton for Japan. During the Korean War and in the Cold War, Pakistan and Japan found themselves on the same side of the divide. President Ayub Khan visited Japan in 1960. That was followed by Prime Minister Ike's visit to Pakistan in 1961. During the latter's visit, agreement to start two projects on Yen Credits and Transferring Students were concluded. Accordingly, 80 Pakistani students were transferred to Japan, mainly to Chiba University where they acquired Japanese language training and technology skills. YEN Credits was established to deepen trading and economic relationship. According to the YEN Credit contract, Japan accepted long repayment periods, and Pakistan only bought Japanese products. It was aimed to achieve two purposes, for Pakistan good products were available at discounted price, and for Japan, its products were introduced in Pakistani and other Muslim countries' markets. The two agreements not only brought Pakistan the new technology and skills to use Japanese products but also established strong connectivity between Pakistan and Japan.

In the 1980’s bilateral relations were further bolstered due to Pakistan’s role in securing the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the sea lanes security through which Japan receives bulk of its oil.

Although the bilateral relations saw a difficult phase following the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in 1998, the engagement at the political level continued.

The August 2000 visit to Pakistan by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori signaled Japan’s desire to continue highest-level engagement with Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf also visited Japan in 2000. Since 2001, Japan has also been highly appreciative of Pakistan’s vital role in the war against terrorism. It extended humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in the wake of 2005 earthquake.

During the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Pakistan on 30 April -1st May 2005, Pakistan-Japan Joint Declaration entitled “Pakistan-Japan at a new frontier; towards a renewed, enhanced and robust relationship” was signed. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz visited Japan in August 2005.

Japan welcomed the 2007 return of democracy in Pakistan. It not only hosted the Friends of Democratic Pakistan and Donors’ Conference in Tokyo in April 2009, but also pledged US$1 billion at the Conference. Japan has also come forward to assist Pakistan in its flood relief and rescue operations. It announced contributions for flood relief and rehabilitation efforts at the Pakistan Development Forum on 14-15 November 2010.

During the visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Japan in 21-23 February 2011, the two sides signed the Joint Statement on Japan-Pakistan Comprehensive Partnership.

President Dr. Arif Alvi has attended the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor of Japan Naruhito in October 2019. 

High Level Exchanges

Following high-level visits have been exchanged between the two countries since establishment of diplomatic relations:

i)   From Japan:

1957 Prime Minister Shinsuke Kishi
1961 Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda
1962 Crown Prince Akihito (now Emperor) and Princess
1983 Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone
1990 Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu
2000 Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori
2005 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi


ii)  From Pakistan:

1960 President Ayub Khan
1983 President Zia-ul-Haq
1987 Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo
1989 Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
1990 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan
1992 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
1996 Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
2002 President Pervez Musharraf
2005 Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
2009 President Asif Ali Zardari
2011 President Asif Ali Zardari
2019 President Dr. Arif Alvi

Bilateral Institutional Mechanisms

Pakistan and Japan have following institutional mechanisms:

  • Annual Bilateral Political Consultations at Foreign Secretary level.
  • Security Dialogue (including Defense and Foreign Ministries)
  • Expert-level Working Group on Disarmament & Non Proliferation
  • Official-level discussions Export Controls
  • Expert-level Working Group on Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
  • High Level Economic Policy Dialogue

Bilateral Agreements






Pakistan-Japan Trade Agreement

10 April 1953

14 May 1953


Pakistan-Japan Trade Agreement

29 October 1954

15 September 1954


Pakistan-Japan Cultural Agreement

27 May 1957

21 April 1958


Pakistan-Japan Trade Agreement

7 September 1957

1 July 1957


Pakistan-Japan Trade Agreement

5 September 1958

1 September 1958


Pakistan-Japan Convention on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income

10 December 19



Double Taxation Prevention Treaty

17 February 1959

14 May 195


Pakistan-Japan Trade Agreement

23 September 1959

1 September 19


Protocol Supplementing the Convention between Pakistan and Japan for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect of Taxes on Income

28 June 196



Supplementary Protocol to the Double Taxation Prevention Treaty

28 June 1960

01 August 19


Pakistan-Japan Agreement for Establishment of Agricultural Training Centre

30 July 1960

30 July 19


Pakistan-Japan Treaty of Friendship and Commerce

18 December 1960

20 August 19


International Postal Money Order Exchange Agreement

7 February 1961

01 August 196


Pakistan-Japan Agreement relating to Air Services

17 October 1961

12 July 19


Pakistan-Japan Agreement regarding Establishment of a Telecommunication Research Centre

16 November 1963

16 November 196


Pakistan-Japan Plan of operation for Engineering and Economic Survey for the Development of a New Ocean Port at Pitti Creek in West Pakistan

2 February 1971



Agreement for Promotion and Protection of Investment

29 April 2002

29 May 2002


Technical Cooperation Agreement

30 April 2005

30 April 2005


Avoidance of Double Taxation Convention (Revised)

23 January 2008

9 November 2008


  MoU Signed Effective

Memorandum of understanding between the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Japan Mine Action Service

3 March 2009



Japanese ODA : On-going Projects in Pakistan

Based on the Country Assistance Programme, Japanese ODA has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Pakistan to revive its economy and to reduce poverty through a series of reforms and supporting the initiatives taken through Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). In doing so, following sectors have been identified as being crucial: Health, Sanitation, Education Agriculture, Irrigation, Economic Infrastructure and Economic Development. Details of ongoing projects are as under:

Scheme Sector Project name Project site Pakistani Agency
Development Studies Sanitation The Study on Water Supply and Sewerage System in Karachi Karachi Karachi Water Supply and Sewerage Board (KWSB)
Technical Cooperation Projects Agriculture and Irrigation Irrigation Management Transfer/ Water Management Expert Punjab Province Punjab Irrigation and Power Department/Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority
Technical Cooperation Projects Environment Technical Cooperation for Establishment of Environmental Monitoring System Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA)
Technical Cooperation Projects Environment Capacity Building for Solid Waste Management Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar,Quetta, Karachi & Sukkur Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency
Technical Cooperation Projects Education The Punjab Literacy Promotion Project (Phase - II) Punjab Province Literacy & Non-Formal Basic Education Department, Government of Punjab
Technical Cooperation Projects Governance Capacity Building of Pakistan Customs Administration Islamabad,Karachi Ministry of Finance, Central Board of Revenue
Technical Cooperation Projects Governance Project on Improvement of Public Administration for Local Governments in Punjab District Hafizabad,Punjab Province Local Government and Community Development Department, Government of the Punjab
Technical Cooperation Projects Economic Infrastructure and Economic Development The Project for Strengthening of Flood Risk Management in Lai Nullah Basin Islamabad &Rawalpindi Federal Flood Commission,Pakistan Meteorological Dept.,RawalpindiTehsil Municipal Administration
Technical Cooperation Projects Economic Infrastructure and Economic Development Highway Research and Training Center Islamabad National Highway Authority (NHA), Ministry of Communications
Technical Cooperation Projects Economic Infrastructure and Economic Development Construction Machinery Training Institute (CMTI) (Third Country Training Programme) Islamabad Construction Technology Training Institute (CTTI)
Technical Cooperation Projects Economic Infrastructure and Economic Development Transport policy adviser Islamabad National Highway Authority (NHA), Ministry of Communications
Development Studies Disaster Rehabilitation and Reconstruction The Urgent Development Study on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Muzaffarabad City in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Muzaffarabad Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA)
Technical Cooperation Projects Agriculture Agricultural Research & Extension Expert The North West Frontier Province Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperative Department, Government of NWFP
Technical Cooperation Projects Health Tuberculosis Control Project Islamabad and Punjab Ministry of Health
Technical Cooperation Projects Health Safe Motherhood Islamabad Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS)
Technical Cooperation Projects Health EPI/Polio Control Project NorthWesternFrontierProvince(Buner, Shanla and Swat districts)
QCL, NIH (Islamabad)
Ministry of Health, National Institute of Health (NIH)
Japanese ODA Loan Education Balochistan Middle Level Education BalochistanProvince Education Department, Government of Balochistan
Japanese ODA Loan Transportation Indus HighwayConstruction Project (III) SindhProvince National Highway Authority
Japanese ODA Loan Transportation East-West RoadImprovement (N-70) PunjabProvince National Highway Authority
Japanese ODA Loan Transportation Rural Roads Construction (II) SindhProvince Works and Services Department, Government of Sindh
Japanese ODA Loan Power Load Dispatch System Upgradation Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP, andPunjabProvinces Natinal Transmission and Dispatch Company
Japanese ODA Loan Power Dadu-Khuzdar Transmission System Sindh andBalochistanProvinces Natinal Transmission and Dispatch Company
Japanese ODA Loan Power PunjabTransmission Lines and Grid Station PunjabProvince Natinal Transmission and Dispatch Company
Japanese ODA Loan Water Lower ChenabCanal System Rehabilitation PunjabProvince PunjabIrrigation and Power Authority
Japanese ODA Loan Water PunjabIrrigation System Improvement PunjabProvince PunjabIrrigation and Power Authority