Exactly two years ago today, I delivered a message to Gulf News on Japan's National Foundation Day on February 11. Since it was my first message as Japan’s ambassador for a newspaper in the UAE, I clearly remember what I spoke about.
I said, “I was impressed by the prevailing air of tolerance in the society, which seems to resonate with the Japanese value of ‘Wa’ or harmony.” Since then, my view has not changed very much, but I must highlight that our bilateral relation has made remarkable development in many areas during the past two years with one of the most symbolic events being the launch of Hope Probe from Japan in July, 2020, which has successfully entered the orbit of Mars two days ago.
Our relation is not only about the traditional oil business anymore; we are substantially contributing to each other in a variety of areas such as defence, culture and sports, education, science and technology, and space exploration.
As a number of industries are rapidly thriving in the UAE, the relationship between the UAE and Japan has dramatically changed over the past decades. Clearly, it is not only about the traditional oil business anymore; we are substantially contributing to each other in a variety of areas such as defence, culture and sports, education, science and technology, and space exploration.
It is worth mentioning that 2021 is an important year for both Japan and the UAE, as Japan will hold Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July, while the UAE will hold Dubai Expo 2020 in October. The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary since the UAE and Japan established diplomatic relations. It is my greatest honour to welcome these memorable two years while I am representing my country here, when our relationship is strongly flourishing.
Lastly, let me touch upon our response to Covid-19. 2020 was remarkably tough for everyone, and our Embassy surely faced difficult moments as well. However, we put health of Japanese citizens as our top priorities and acted upon our policies. To ensure their safety and security, we set up a dedicated webpage and an official Twitter account in Japanese to provide accurate and timely information for the Japanese community in this country.
Moreover, when the airports closed down in the end of March, we coordinated with Etihad Airways to operate repatriation flights for those who wished to return home. As a result, thanks to the generous support from Etihad Airways, we safely operated six repatriation flights in April and May.
I believe the UAE and its people are confronting the disease as one, with the government’s various effective initiatives and the citizens’ constant efforts. I would like to conclude my message by kindly asking for the readers’ continuous support in fighting the virus together.