The end of every year – with its double anniversary, Romania’s National Day on December the 1st and the Japanese National Day on the 23rd – is both a moment of joint celebration and of reflection, a good occasion to take stock of our achievements in our bilateral ties and to ponder on our way ahead.
This year has been made special by another special anniversary in November – the centenary of our first endeavors to establish diplomatic ties between Romania and Japan. On November 19, 1917, the special envoy of King Ferdinand of Romania, Minister Counsellor Nicolae Xenopol presented his credentials to Emperor Taisho at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. This festive event was unfortunately without consequence, being followed one month later by the tragic demise of the envoy. Although the de facto opening of our Legation in Japan had to be postponed for another four years, this moment nevertheless marked an important date in the history of Romanian-Japanese relations, since it showed the willingness of both sides to begin a strong friendship.
Curtailed by the tragedy of the Second World War and the subsequent rise of the Iron Curtain, our diplomatic ties emerged again in 1959, when Japan, disregarding the ideological chasm separating us at that time, extended its friendly hand towards the Romanian people and once again embarked on a policy of cooperation and support. The years that followed witnessed the rise of several high-tech industrial projects carried out with Japanese help in Romania, among which the ball-bearing factory in Alexandria, the special steel plant in Targoviste, the Azomures photographic film plant and other.
After 1990, Japan consistently supported our efforts to modernize our country and to bring it back to the family of democratic nations. The remarkable technological and financial assistance granted by Japan in various fields helped Romania to reform and develop its economy on the sound bases of market principles, thus turning it into one of the most dynamic economies in Europe nowadays.
At present, the collaboration between our two countries is more extensive and goes deeper than ever before. Our nations have found a solid common ground in their profound respect for the fundamental democratic values, as well as in their mutual appreciation of each other’s humanistic and cultural traditions. Faced with the very complex and diverse challenges raised by the contemporary world, both Romania and Japan are willing to intensify their dialogue in the field of international security and to jointly contribute to a more peaceful and stable global environment based on the rule of law. At the same time, they are genuinely interested in expanding their economic ties, an important objective stimulated by the Romanian remarkable economic growth over the recent years, as well as by Japan’s relevant capacity to project its economic strength and advancement globally. Moreover, there are significant opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the education and R&D fields, highlighted by the presence of the Japanese Professor Kazuo Tanaka as Scientific Director of the Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics Project in Magurele, the most powerful laser in the world, built in Romania as part of an EU initiative.
Given all the promising elements presented above, I am confident that the prospects of our future collaboration are equally bright and our two great nations will continue to discover new means to work together more closely, in spite of the geographical divide between them.
With these thoughts in mind, it gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest congratulations to the friendly people of Japan on the occasion of their National Day, together with my cordial wishes for happiness, prosperity and outstanding achievements for the good of their great country.