Ties between Zimbabwe and Japan are set for new levels with various projects being undertaken under the Japan Official Development Assistance (ODA) Framework, while plans to commence infrastructure development under the north south corridor are at an advanced stage.

This came out when two envoys, the Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe and the outgoing Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe paid separate courtesy calls on Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare this Tuesday morning.

Japan’s Ambassador Toshiyuki Iwado paid a courtesy call on Vice President Mnangagwa to follow up on progress made on agreements signed by President Robert Mugabe and Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Shinzo Abe last year.

The deals cover key economic enablers and are expected to open up a new chapter in trade and business relations between the two countries.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Ambassador Iwado said his country will continue to support Zimbabwe’s development efforts and plans are at an advanced stage to officially launch the commencement of the north south corridor infrastructure projects which the Asian country undertook to fund when they signed an agreement with President Mugabe last year.

Zimbabwe has been a beneficiary of humanitarian aid from Japan but the trend is now shifting with the two countries now taking the relationship to a new level where they embark on projects that enrich both sides.

In 2015, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) extended a $15 million grant to Zimbabwe for the development of the 674 hectares Nyakomba irrigation scheme in Nyanga. Other deals signed between the two friendly countries covers areas such as agriculture, mining and information communication technologies.

Last month, the government of Japan donated $1 million to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Earlier on, the outgoing Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Elio Savon Oliva had also paid a courtesy call on Vice President Mnangagwa to bid him farewell.

Cuba’s top envoy to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Oliva who has completed his four year tour of duty said he will carry very good memories of the country adding prospects for the country are looking very bright.

Havana and Harare share strong ties.

After independence, thousands of students from Zimbabwe went to train in Cuba as sciences teachers and doctors while many Cuban doctors are currently seconded to Zimbabwe.

The establishment of the Bindura University of Science Education is another good example of the two countries’ fruitful relations.