It gives me great pleasure to convey my heartfelt greetings, on behalf of all Members of the Board of the Oman Japan Friendship Association, to His Majesty Emperor Naruhito of Japan on the auspicious occasion of his 61st birthday.
This year, in Oman, we marked a significant occasion celebrating the anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik taking over the reigns. We are confident that His Majesty’s visionary leadership and guidance will steer Oman further ahead on its inspiring path of development, peace and stability. For this, we the people of Oman pledge our complete support to His Majesty’s leadership. May the Almighty bless him with good health and long life.
Oman and Japan are two great nations, united by timeless bonds based on rich heritage and culture that go back hundreds of years. With time these remarkable ties have grown stronger, offering numerous opportunities to people of both the nations to learn about each other’s absorbing culture and heritage, while also taking advantage of mutually beneficial economic relationships.
As a responsible association, focussed on taking these special bonds to even greater levels, the Oman Japan Friendship Association uses every opportunity to build enduring relationships and foster meaningful ties between people of both the nations. The association plans and initiates a number of activities in various areas, including fields as diverse as commerce, education, culture, arts, tourism and sports. Like each year, this year too, the Oman Japan Friendship Association reaffirms its commitment to take these remarkable bonds to even greater levels.
Apart from building lasting relationships through deep-rooted culture, Oman and Japan have made impressive economic progress based on each other’s strengths. Japan’s expertise in machinery, iron, steel, electronics, automotive and more continue to benefit Oman through imports from Japan. Similarly, as a major producer of oil and gas, aluminium and fishery products, Oman continues to cater to Japan’s growing demand through exports. It is also encouraging to know that Japanese companies have made impressive investments in Oman through joint ventures in a number of projects including the energy sector.
Since its inception, the Oman Japan Friendship Association, in close co-operation with the Embassy of Japan, has continued to improve relations between the people of the two nations by planning and initiating a number of cultural exchange programmes that showcase the diverse, rich and absorbing culture of both countries.
Unlike earlier, the last year unfolded a unique and challenging environment as a result of the global pandemic. Although the highest levels of care and concern were exercised to limit people-to-people contacts through special events offline, a few online events and programmes continued to play a role in strengthening the relationship between people of Oman and Japan.
It is very inspiring to witness the interest the people of Oman have in learning the Japanese language. To cater to this interest, each year the Oman Japan Friendship Association, in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan, conducts a three-month Japanese Language Course. These courses are held by native Japanese language teachers and are popular among Japanese language enthusiasts here in Oman.
Due to limitations like social distancing norms and adherence to health and safety guidelines, advised by competent authorities, the Embassy of Japan offered students interested in learning the Japanese language an opportunity to register and learn for free through the event ‘Online Study in Japan Week 2020’ in December 2020.
In September 2020, the Embassy of Japan conducted the Japanese Illustration Online Competition for all residents in Oman. The competition was based on the theme of Japanese landscapes, nature, tradition and culture.
Earlier in February the same year, the Embassy of Japan inaugurated the Japanese stall at the 25th Muscat International Book Fair at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in cooperation with the Japan Foundation. The stall had books from Japan that covered a variety of genres and activities, including origami, Japanese calligraphy and more.
Every year, several such events and activities held by the Oman Japan Friendship Association showcase each nation’s rich culture and heritage to the people of both the nations. In the days to come, the Oman Japan Friendship Association will continue to plan and initiate several such events and activities that will bring the people of Oman and Japan closer.
On this special occasion, on behalf of all the Board members of the Oman Japan Friendship Association, I convey sincere greetings to His Majesty Emperor Naruhito. May God Almighty grant him good health and long life. And may the beautiful bonds of friendship that bind Oman and Japan continue to grow even stronger.
Mohammed Saud Bahwan
Chairman of the Board of Oman Japan Friendship Association