Address of His Excellency Yoshiharu Kato, ambassador of Japan in Mauritius at his Residence in Floréal on Thursday during the celebration of the 85th birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihito

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Address of His Excellency  Yoshiharu Kato, ambassador of Japan in Mauritius  on Thursday, 29th November 2018 at his Residence in  Floréal during a ceremony to mark the celebration of the 85th birthday of  His Majesty Akihito, the 125th Emperor of Japan.

His Excellency, Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, Acting President of the Republic of Mauritius,

Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

Honourable Ivan Collendavelloo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Public Utilities

The Right Honourable Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Minister Mentor and Minister of Defence and Rodrigues, Lady Sarojini Jugnauth

Honourable Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade

Honourable Yogida Sawmynaden, Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation

Honourable Nandcoomar Bodha, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport

Honourable Anil Gayan, Minister of Tourism

Honourable (Dr) Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Health and Quality of Life

Honourable Alain Wong, Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment

Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps,

Mrs Usha Dwarka-Canabady, Secretary for Foreign Affairs

Members of the Press,

Distinguished Guests,

Good evening, Bonsoir,

It is my great privilege and honour to welcome all of you here to celebrate together the 85th birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan. His Majesty Emperor Akihito was born on December 23rd, 1933, and enthroned in 1989 as the 125th Emperor of Japan. Next January, we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of His Majesty’s accession to the throne.

Emperor Akihito of Japan is set to abdicate on 30 April 2019, which will make him the first Japanese Emperor to do so in over two centuries. This marks the end of the Heisei period, which is the name of his imperial era, and will precipitate numerous festivities leading up to the accession of his successor, His Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince Naruhito. The enthronement ceremony will likely take place on 01 May 2019.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the first resident Ambassador of Japan to Mauritius, I would like to take this opportunity, to reaffirm the cordial bond and friendship which have linked Japan and Mauritius since 1968. Japan firmly wishes to further deepen our relations with Mauritius and my staff members and I shall work diligently for this purpose. I feel, there have been also growing expectations from the Mauritian side since the establishment of the Japanese Embassy and as the intimate partner, we, at the embassy, have worked hard over the last year to bring our two countries closer together for our better relationship. I am very pleased to see that bilateral relations have progressed steadily. Today, I would like to look back on some of the highlights since last year.

As regards to maritime security, Japan has strongly recognized the need for taking measures against international organized crimes which are committed in the sea. At the Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security which was held in April in Mauritius, we announced that Japan would provide training on the investigation and prosecution of piracy and armed robbery for maritime police of Seychelles in cooperation with the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). We also announced that Japan would provide training on the enhancement of law enforcement capacity through UNODC targeting the Indian Ocean coastal countries, taking into consideration that regional cooperation and efforts are of vital importance in terms of addressing organized crimes crossing national borders.

In August, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr Masahisa Sato visited Mauritius and met several dignitaries of Mauritius. Maritime security, the blue economy in the context of the free and open Indo-pacific initiative of Japan and other avenues of cooperation were at the fore of discussions.

During the same week, a delegation from Japan, led by the Member of the House of Representatives of Japan and President of the Japan-AU Parliamentary Friendship Association, Mr Ichiro Aisawa visited Mauritius. Issues evoked with his counterpart pertained to collaboration between the two countries, promotion of cooperation between Japan and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and other.

In October, a Mauritian delegation led by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Usha Dwarka-Canabady, on behalf of Honourable Foreign Minister Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, attended the TICAD Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo. During her stay, she met several dignitaries of the Japanese Government and parastatal bodies to exchange views about bilateral and multilateral issues. During the same period, the Honourable Maneesh Gobin, Attorney General attended the 57th Annual Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) which was held in Tokyo too. In the sidelines of this meeting, he met with his counterpart of Japan to exchange views about the two countries.

 Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As regard to economic cooperation, Japan has always affirmed its willingness to cooperate with Mauritius in different fields. In February, a Japanese delegation from the Japan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry based in South Africa came to Mauritius to explore various opportunities of doing business. 

On the other hand, in July, I was proud to witness the signature ceremony between two companies namely IgKnight from Mauritius and NEC/XON from Japan where both firms entered into an unprecedented partnership to fight against cybercrime in Mauritius.

Recently, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs have selected the first Mauritian satellite for the KiboCUBE program. The KiboCUBE program aims to encourage young people to take an interest in space. I am delighted to see the dynamism of Mauritian researchers displaying their talents and having access to such platforms.

Besides this, before the year ends, we are expecting to inaugurate the Meteorological Doppler Radar at Trou aux Cerfs along with the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development. The purpose of this radar is for the early detection of natural calamities.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since last March, My Embassy has organized several cultural events to mark the 50th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Mauritius, such as a Japan Film week, the Oshiete! Nippon (Tell me! Japan) in English, a cultural week which showcased the different cultures and history of Japan. Recently, a famous Japanese Calligraphy master, Mr. Kakusho was in Mauritius for an exhibition and workshops. At the end of October, together with His Excellency, Ag President of the Republic, we planted Sakura saplings also known as Cherry Blossom which were donated by the Japanese NPO Cherry Blossom Association at the State house.

Regarding these events, I seize this opportunity to thank all the Mauritian people and organizations, especially the Government of Mauritius, the University of Mauritius, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, the Mauritius Film Development Corporation, National Productivity and Competitiveness Council, Lux* Resorts and Hotels, Saint Geran Hotel and the Municipal Council of Port Louis and of Beau Bassin/Rose Hill, Karate Associations, Jujitsu Association, Kendo Association and Conservatoire François  Mitterrand who have actively collaborated in making our events successful.

It would be remiss of me not mentioning the strong ties our two countries have in capacity building of human resources. Every year, Japan provides more than 20 Mauritians with various training programs in the context of economic cooperation and two or three scholarships in Japanese Universities every year. We cannot count the real number of students who studied in Japan in the past but 350 Mauritians have studied there at least since 2000. On 25 October this year, those former students created a network named the Japan Dodoshima Alumni Association in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). I am very happy to welcome the representatives here tonight. I’m looking forward to hosting a ceremony to celebrate the establishment of this association in my residence with them, hopefully early next year.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lastly, I’d like to mention one thing. As you can see, two private companies, ABC Motors Ltd and Toyota Mauritius are displaying the latest models of Japanese cars. Please enjoy their cutting edge technology. We also have a Japanese Sake and wine tasting corner which I hope you will enjoy. I also invite you to taste the Japanese cuisine such as the yakitori and tempura at the BBQ corner. I hope you like it.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On today’s auspicious occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt wish for a long life of his Majesty, the Emperor of Japan and the happiness and further prosperity of the people of Mauritius.

I thank all of you again for your esteemed presence this evening.

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