By H.E. Mr. Keiji YAMAMOTO, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Japan in Romania
“(…) This fall has been very rewarding for the Japanese – Romanian bilateral relations, as we witnessed high-level talks, both between our two countries and between Japan and the European Union. Before presenting the outcome of these meetings, I would like to present to you an element of the traditional culture which Japanese people value very much. One of the religious denominations in Japan is Shintoism, which, since ancient times, has worshiped nature and the gods. Among the 80,000 Shinto shrines countrywide, there is Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine) ddedicated to the worship of goddess Amaterasu, the protector of the Imperial Family, is considered to be the prime shrine in Japan.
According to tradition, the Ise Grand Shrine has to be entirely rebuilt from new cypress wood, once every 20 years. Except during war periods, this tradition has been observed since the year 690 A.D. until the present day. During almost 1,300 years the shrine has been rebuilt through the ceremony call shikinen senguu. This year, in October, the 62nd edition of this ceremony took place, officiated exceptionally by the daughter of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Sayako Kuroda, who visited Romania back in 2002, on the occasion of the 100th years anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Romania. (…)
On October 29, whilst in Istanbul, at the ceremony marking the inauguration of the undersea rail tunnel crossing the Marmarra strait, built with Japanese funds and technology, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe had a meeting with Mr. Victor Ponta, the Prime Minister of Romania. The last meeting between the premiers of Japan and Romania took place six years ago.
Prime Minister Abe stated that, from the overall good bilateral relations, Japan intends to particularly intensify the economic ties, which have a special potential. In his turn, Prime Minister Ponta expressed his hope that the economic relations will deepen through the attraction of more Japanese investments and that the re-launch of the Japanese economy ties will successfully advance under the leadership of the Abe Cabinet. Prime Minister Ponta also referred to the last project financed with Japanese funds, “The project of the access line to Henri Coanda International Airport” and congratulated Japan on the success of the “Marmarra” project. The two Premiers agreed on the importance of advancing the collaboration to conclude the Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and the EU as soon as possible (…).
On November 19, the 21st Japan – EU Summit took place, in which Japan was represented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Economy and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, while the European side was represented by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht and by other high officials.
On this occasion, the two sides renewed their strong commitment to swiftly conclude the Economic Partnership Agreement, a comprehensive and ambitious document between Japan and the EU. Furthermore, the two sides showed their intention to also conclude a Strategic Partnership Agreement, as a launching pad for further boosting and expanding the cooperation between Japan and the EU in a whole range of domains, in view of responding to the joint challenges currently faced by the international community.
(…) A week prior to this high-level meeting, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos went to Japan together with several European producers in order to present the agri-food products which received the EU quality certifications. On this occasion, Mr. Ciolos met and had an exchange of views with Mr. Yoshimasa Hayasi, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Norio Mitsuya.
Japan places great importance to the European Union, which constitutes one of the poles in the international community through deepening integration and extension, as a global partner sharing the fundamental values. Together with the EU, Japan wishes to play a leading role for the world’s peace and prosperity. (…)
I wish a wonderful 2014 to all Japanese and Romanian citizens!”
Excerpts from the letter sent to Nine O’Clock by the Embassy of Japan in Bucharest