H.E. Mr. Keiji Yamamoto, Ambassador of Japan in Romania:
It is my great pleasure to send a message to the readers of Nine O’clock, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. While His Majesty the Emperor, in spite of his age, is working energetically on official duties, His Majesty has still continued his visits to the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, in order to encourage the people living there.
As regards the bilateral relations between Japan and Romania, this year, important high-level dialogues were realized. In February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Titus Corlatean visited Japan and met the Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. From Japan, in August, Mr. Sadakazu Tanigaki, the Minister for Justice and, at the same time, the president of the Japan-Romania Parliamentary Friendship Association, visited Romania and met not only his counterpart Minister Robert Cazanciuc but also the Prime Minister Victor Ponta, and the Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean. Furthermore, in October, the Minister-delegate for Higher Education, Science Technology and Research Development, Mr. Mihnea Costoiu and, in November, the Secretary of State of Public Health, Dr. Raed Arafat, made their visits to Japan respectively. Among others, on 29 October, Prime Ministers of the two countries, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Ponta had their meeting for the first time in last 6 years, in Istanbul, where the two heads of government were paying visits. Also, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Nobuo Kishi, rounded up the series of political dialogues of this year by having a meeting with Vice – Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea and Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean last week.
Strengthening economic relations has always been one of the key points on the Japanese and Romanian common agenda. It is my pleasure to note that approximately 170 Japanese companies are active in Romania at the moment, creating more than 32 thousand jobs in this country.
While Europe is still undergoing economic difficulties, Romania, with its patient and sound economic management, has achieved one of the highest economic growths in Europe this year, and it is expected that the Romanian economy in 2014 will recover to the level before crisis. I do hope that this steady recovery and growth of the Romanian economy will attract more Japanese investors to Romania.
In the field of culture, such as music or theater, higher education and science technologies, we are observing active exchanges between the two countries. Let me introduce some examples. Sibiu International Theatre Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and is considered one of the most prominent theatre festivals in Europe, has been enjoying participation of Japan’s best theatre companies and actors every year. Having a strong partnership with Japanese theatres, this year, the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre of Sibiu staged in Sibiu and in Bucharest a piece of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, called the Japanese Shakespeare, which is titled “O poveste japoneza (A Japanese story)”. Needless to say, it won the applause of the full audience in both cities. On the musical scene, I can freshly remember the Osaka Harmonious Chamber Orchestra which took part in the “George Enescu” Biennale held in September.
Partnerships between local cities constitute also the important basis for the development of bilateral relations. The Sibiu International Theatre Festival in 2007 triggered the friendship between Sibiu City and Takayama City, located in the centre of the Japanese Archipelago, and has materialized in the conclusion of a friendship agreement in 2012. I have visited both Sibiu and Takayama this year. They are both very beautiful cities which preserve traditions and attract many tourists from all over the world. When touching upon local cities’ partnership, I cannot forget to mention to the one between Brasov City and Musashino City of Tokyo, as they have more than 20-year-long friendship.
We have also observed some progress in the field of bilateral academic and research exchanges this year. The University of Bucharest added a new protocol on exchange programs with Ehime University, and published philosophy books jointly with Hokkaido University. I believe that these people to people contacts and exchanges in various areas are the very driving force which pushes forward and enriches our bilateral relations, and I, as the Japanese Ambassador to Romania, am very much encouraged by these achievements.
Now the Japanese economy is on the way to regaining its vitality, encouraged by the active and bold economic and financial measures known as “Abenomics”, the initiative of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The European economy has also begun to show some good signs of recovery from the prolonged critical recession.
To conclude, I would like to express my sincere hope that the next year will be a most wonderful and fruitful one for the readers of Nine O’clock, and that our bilateral relationship will be further developed.
“Merry Christmas” and “A Happy New Year” to you all!