On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would show my deepest condolences to the victims and families, and my sympathy to the injured people in Türkiye and neighbouring countries such as Syria as a result of the earthquake on February 6. The Government of Japan has expressed solidarity with the people of affected countries and endeavoured to swiftly provide necessary assistance, through collaborating with the international organisations, so that the affected people in Türkiye and Syria can overcome the hardships they are facing.
On the occasion of the 63rd birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan today on February 23rd, I would like to extend my warm greetings to the people of the Sultanate of Oman.
His Majesty is the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people. Last year, Their Majesties Emperor and Empress made their first trip outside Tokyo since the pandemic broke out. With the year marking 50 years since the Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, they visited the islands, remembering the importance of peace. They also travelled to the United Kingdom to attend the State Funeral of Her late Majesty the Queen. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress always turn their minds to people in Japan and the world.
Since I arrived in Oman at the beginning of last year, I have been always determined to fulfill my duties by staying vigilant for changes and thinking outside the box. I was fortunate to start my tenure in the year of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Oman. With support by the Government of Oman and our partners such as Oman-Japan Friendship Association, we have organised occasions for exhibits, performances and other cultural gatherings, that is because we believed in the power of culture to reconnect people, sustain human contacts and reunite people.
To name some of our cultural activities: A traditional theatre art Noh performed by Hosho School of Noh at the Royal Opera House Muscat, photo and calligraphy exhibitions at Omani Society for Arts, craft art ‘netsuke’ exhibition at GUtech, participation in 968 GameZ and Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Band’s performance to celebrate Oman’s National Day. We have promoted and cherished people-to-people contact through those events.
We also saw many interpersonal interactions in the sports field too. Year 2022 started with international hockey games attended by the Japanese women team. The Embassy has resumed engagements with karate groups in Oman. The Japanese youth soccer team and senior table tennis players also travelled to Muscat to join the games. Together with the praise for Al Mouj Golf winning international fame, the Embassy supports Oman’s intent to emerge as a venue for international sporting events.
Inter-governmental talks and visits have infused a sense of buoyancy to stimulate the bilateral relations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary: Telephone talks between Foreign Ministers, H E Mr Hayashi Yoshimasa and H E Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi, visits by Mr Honda Taro, Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. H E Mr Nishimura Yasutoshi, Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry was granted an audience with His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, and also met with H E Sayyid Badr and H E Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals. During his stay, Japanese companies signed term sheet agreements with Oman LNG for the production and delivery of LNG. The total amount of LNG to be delivered is 2.35mtpa, making them the first firms to sign a long-term offtake deal with Oman. Japan’s interest in new energy brought Governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and others from both private and government sectors to attend Green Hydrogen Summit in December.
This month, we had a delegation of Japanese SMEs. Another business mission headed by the Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East is scheduled to arrive in Oman in the coming few days. The mission is expected to pave the way for private enterprises to find new arenas in Oman.
We are now in the year following the 50th anniversary. Today’s bond between Japan and the Sultanate of Oman is evidenced by the past beautiful years of our relationship. Hoping that our relationship lasts long, I would like to renew my wishes for good health and continued prosperity of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. On this special occasion, I celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor and wish him good health and continued prosperity.