“23rd of December marks the most important date in the official Japanese calendar – the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. It is a time for both looking back with satisfaction at what was achieved in the closing year and for expressing new hopes for the future one.
The anniversary we are celebrating now sits close to the end of the 26th year of the Heisei era – the “Era of Achieving Peace”, which started in 1989, a significant year for Romanians, as well. And, as in our case, this was a period of tremendous changes. After decades of unprecedented growth and prosperity, the end of the Cold War brought a paradigmatic shift in the geopolitical status of Japan, too. At the beginning of the 90s, the Japanese society embarked on a long and strenuous process of restructuring and renovating its economy. In fact, this was, simultaneously, an overarching process of readjustment of the political life, redefining the international stance and role of the country, changing its people’s mentalities and habits. By combining all their energies and by putting to good use their traditional propensity for hard and inspired work, the Japanese confronted and successfully coped with the complex challenges of the contemporary world. These were years of unprecedented adversity, too, when two cataclysmic events – the Great Kobe earthquake in 1995, and the biggest seismic event in Japan’s recorded history (Tōhoku region, 2011), followed by the tsunami devastation and the nuclear incident in Fukushima – brought along destruction and challenges on a large scale. In spite of that, the Japanese, proving once more their extraordinary resolve, creativity and resilience, managed to return their country among the leading economies of the world.
Today’s Japan is the world’s third largest economy, the most important single provider of development assistance to developing countries, an inspiration in fields as diverse as industrial management and environmental protection. The ‘Abenomics’ – set of policies devised by Japan’s current Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, based upon the “three arrows” of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms – are already bringing along palpable results, as confirmed by the victory of Mr. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the recent early Parliamentary elections.
In terms of bilateral relations, the Heisei years proved particularly auspicious: Japan was one of the first nations to greet Romania’s return to the democratic family of nations and to show its support in various fields. Since 1989, the two sides carried on numerous joint projects in economy, finances, culture, to name just a few. Romanian citizens can travel freely to Japan, benefiting of a temporary visa waiver for short-stay visits which we have high hopes to make permanent. The political dialogue is vivid and productive, based on the principles of the Renewed Partnership signed between our countries. Much remains to be done, of course, in order to reach the full potential of our bilateral co-operation. Nevertheless, our countries have already proven their like-mindedness in what concerns democracy, the rule of law and human rights policies. We are convinced that this positive trend in our relations will most certainly increase and diversify.
With these thoughts in mind, let me convey to the Japanese people and to the Japanese Government our heartfelt congratulations on their National Day and to wish a long and prosperous life to Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the unifying symbols of the Japanese nation.