H.E. Mr. Kisaburo Ishii, Ambassador of Japan to Romania: “I hope our bilateral relationships will grow into more mature and strategic ones”

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The Japanese National Day is December 23rd.  It is the birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihito.   His Majesty is supposed to abdicate in 2019.

As it is known, on  November 29th , North Korea again launched an alleged ICBM class missile which is said to have the capability to fly over 10,000 km to cover North America and Europe.

Within only the last two years, North Korea has launched as many as thirty missiles.   This is a very serious issue not only for the region but also for the entire international community.

Much worse than this, North Korea repeated nuclear tests.   For Japan, the only country in the world which suffered from the atomic bomb, this is totally unacceptable.

Japan already works closely with Romania and with the entire international society for the  implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Next year , Romania will celebrate 100 years from the Great Unification. One year prior to the Unification, Romania sent Mr. Nicolae Dimitrie Xenopol, to a Far East country, Japan.   Xenopol is also well known as a founder of ASE, the Academy of Economic Studies.

Years later, Romania and Japan mutually opened their legations.

In 2019, Romania will take the EU Presidency.   In the same year, EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is planned to enter into force. In the following year, 2020, Tokyo will host the Olympic Games.   With these important years ahead, I hope our bilateral relationships will grow into more mature and strategic ones.

Romania is a very important partner to Japan, with whom Japan shares universal common values, such as: democracy, rule of law and basic human rights.

In the economic field, Japan is the biggest Asian investor in Romania. Japanese companies are active not only in labor-intensive sectors in Romania, but also in the fields of IT&C and consumer goods. NTT Data, a giant in the Japanese IT field, owns EBS Romania, for example.   The number of its employees has reached 1500. This year URSUS Beer has joined a largest Japanese beverage group, “ASAHI ”.

The important project,  M6 Metro Line, which has been eagerly awaited by all Bucharest citizens for such a long time, partly financed by the Japanese ODA Loan, is now moving ahead.   I am also eager to see the start of its tender next year.

Another important project is the Braila Bridge over the Danube River. The Feasibility Studies were executed by the Japanese Government.   It is now in the tender process.

I hope these projects will contribute to the further development of the infrastructure in Romania.

Speaking about intellectual exchanges, this year we were able to organize numerous seminars, inviting famous scholars and professionals in collaboration with Romanian organizations.

Some of them are:

– Lecture on Japanese Finance

– Seminar on Security in Asia

– Conference on Japanese Architecture, and on Seismic Isolation

– Lecture on Japanese Gardens

This year the number of Japanese restaurants in Bucharest has increased from 13 to around 30 offering new opportunities for those keen to enjoy authentic Japanese food.

This year we’ve seen two great achievements for Japanese culture in Romania.   One is a traditional tea house in the National Museum of Art in Bucharest.   It is an authentic tea house brought from Kyoto.

Another project is the rehabilitation of the Japanese garden in Herastrau Park. I would like to thank the National Museum of Art, Bucharest City Hall, JTI, and Takenaka Corporation for their great collaboration and precious support.   Both of these sites will have grand openings next spring.

Last but not least, I would also like to touch upon some cultural events which the Embassy brought to Romania.

– Contemporary Dance performances by NOISM Company

– Japanese Handcrafts exhibition

– Modern Printing Exhibition

– Yamamoto Noh Theater at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival

In  November, we had the second edition of the Japanese Cultural Month, which included:

– Kimono Show

– Japanese Film Festival

– Caligraphy Workshop

– Edo and Tokyo Old Maps exhibition

– Kendo Championship

– Seminars on Daruma, and Tea Ceremony

I really appreciate the help of the various Romanian organizations and

their staff for these events.

Through these events, I was able to see the greater interest in Japan and Japanese culture here in Romania. I really believe in the power of culture.