By H.E. Mr. Natsuo AMEMIYA, Ambassador of Japan in Bucharest
It is my great pleasure to send a message to the readers of Nine O’Clock, on the occasion of the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
It seems to me that the year 2010 has passed so quickly.
Last year, Japan and Romania celebrated fifty years since the reestablishment of their diplomatic ties, in 1959. During last year, several anniversary events took place, both in Japan and Romania. In the context of the bilateral relations, if I could summarize that 2009 was the year in which Japan and Romania developed cultural exchanges, I might equally be able to say that the year 2010 was for the field of economy.
Since August last year, Japan has been run by the new Government of the Democratic Party. In June this year, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Kan, launched the “New Growth Strategy”, which aims to achieve a strong economy, robust public finances and a strong social security system in Japan. Also, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Maehara, when he assumed his post in September this year, advocated “economic diplomacy” as his foreign policy priority, which consists of the following three pillars: 1) further invigoration of Japan’s economic activities by creating a free flow of goods, people and money through the conclusion of FTAs and EPAs with other countries and regions, 2) securing a stable supply of resources, energy and food necessary for economic growth from a comprehensive perspective, and 3) the utilization and export of safe, secure and environmentally-friendly Japanese infrastructure systems and technologies.
In order to achieve these goals, throughout this year, Japan has laid a special stress on developing economic relations and partnerships particularly with Asian countries, but also with other regions.
The European Union, of which Romania is now part, makes no exception. The Japanese Government is currently making efforts to deepen discussions with EU member states, in view of concluding an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between Japan and the EU. In April of this year, the Japan-EU Summit took place in Japan. During this, a joint High-Level Group was established to conduct a joint examination of EPA meant to comprehensively strengthen and integrate the Japan-EU relationship. Since then, the joint High-level Group has met twice; in October of this year there was also an ASEM meeting, in which Prime Minister Kan explained to President Van Rompuy and to President Barroso his determination to overcome various challenges in order to start Japan-EU EPA negotiations. I appreciate very much Romania’s strong support of the Japan-EU EPA, and we would like to collaborate further so as to begin negotiations for the Japan-EU EPA at the Japan-EU Summit which takes place next year.
Also, a “Headquarters for the International Promotion of Infrastructure Systems” and a “Division for International Promotion of Infrastructure Systems” have been established recently within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, whose mission is to create a structure which will firmly consolidate information and knowledge related to infrastructure export.
From the perspective of Japan – Romania bilateral relations, some significant economy- related events took place this year.
In March, Mr. Basescu, the President of Romania, paid an official visit to Japan.
During this visit, the ambassadors of both countries signed the Exchange of Notes by which the Government of Japan, through the Japanese ODA loan program, provides approximately 370 million EUR as financial support for the project “Bucharest International Airport Rail Access Link Project”.
In July, as a follow-up of Mr. President Basescu’s visit in Japan, the representatives of the European commission of the Japan Keidanren (Federation of Japanese Businessmen) came to Romania in order to exchange views with Romanian high officials and businessmen on the possibilities of further development of economic relations between the two countries.
In November, the Embassy of Japan, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania and JETRO Bucharest, organized a business seminar in the field of the environment, in order to offer a business opportunity for both Romanian and Japanese businessmen to enlarge their range of collaborations. It is worth mentioning that this year, the Romania-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry celebrated its one year anniversary. On that occasion, I also had the chance to meet many Romanian businessmen who are eager to attract Japanese investments, especially in the field of the environment and of tourism.
It seems that the field of the environment, which is one of the most important issues for Romania, and for which Japan has more know-how and higher technology than any other country, could be the domain which will lead to an increase in our countries’ commercial relations.
We might say that so far, from the perspective of each country’s latent potential, the Romanian-Japanese economic ties have not yet reached their full potential. Therefore, as the Ambassador of Japan to Romania, I would like to do my best in order to push bilateral economic relations forward, and of course, other political, cultural relations also.
To conclude with, I would like to express my sincere hope that next year will be a fruitful one, filled with happiness and prosperity for both of the Romanian and the Japanese people.
Please allow me to extend my cordial wishes to the readers of Nine O’Clock. “Merry Christmas” and “A Happy New Year” to you all!