DATE=8/19/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=JAPAN - SOUTH ASIA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-265245 BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has arrived in Bangladesh on the first leg of a South Asian tour that also takes him to Pakistan, India, and Nepal. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the weeklong trip is the first visit to South Asia by a Japanese leader in a decade. Text: Mr. Mori came to Bangladesh Saturday with an 80-member delegation that includes top Japanese officials and businessmen. His talks with Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are focusing on economic cooperation, trade and investment. Japan is Bangladesh's largest aid donor. Most of the aid is being used for infrastructure and social development projects. From Bangladesh, Prime Minister Mori travels onto Pakistan and India. He is visiting these countries despite continuing Japanese economic sanctions imposed on them after their nuclear tests two years ago. Mr. Mori is expected to urge both countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and resume peace talks. The trip's main focus is on India where Mr. Mori spends five days. The Japanese Prime Minister will visit Bangalore - known as India's Silicon valley, and the hub of the nation's information technolgy industries. Independent political analyst Brahma Chellaney says the Japanese are also interested in India's potentially vast market for consumer products. / / / BEGIN CHELLANEY ACTUALITY / / / India is a big market, and for Japanese businesses this is an important market -- a market which Japanese businesses have not tapped that well, they have been rather slow both to invest and to export goods to India, and I think now there is a growing realization in Tokyo that Japan has to be a bit more assertive in finding new markets if it has to come out of its nine-year old economic recession. / / / END ACTUALITY / / / Mr. Chellaney points out Japanese businessmen have been urging their government to lift sanctions against India and Pakistan. Political commentators say South Asia has been something of a neglected region for Japanese diplomacy, as Tokyo has focused most attention on its trading relations with East Asia, the United States and Europe. They say the tour comes as Japan wants to push for a wider diplomatic role in Asia, and is seeking South Asian support for its bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. (signed) NEB/AP/PLM 19-Aug-2000 08:02 AM EDT (19-Aug-2000 1202 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .