Your Excellency, Vice-Prime Minister Madam Ana Birchall,
Your Excellency, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Teodor Meleșcanu
Ministers and Your Excellencies,
Dear fellow Japanese,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening, and thank you very much to you all for being with us tonight to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan. His Majesty, Emperor Akihito, will be 85 years old on the upcoming December 23rd this year.
It is always a special honour and pleasure to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday and to wish a continued good health for His Majesty together with all of you. But this time it is more special, at least to me, because, as you may know already, this reception is to be the last one in Romania on which we celebrate His Majesty Akihito’s birthday as our national day. His Majesty Akihito is to abdicate, or resign, at the end of April next year and to be succeeded by currently Crown Prince, now His Imperial Highness Prince Naruhito on the following day, May 1st. And, there will be the official enthronement ceremony in October the same year. So, this makes me a little sentimental, or even emotional this time to celebrate the birthday and wish for the good health of His Majesty Akihito and even more grateful for the period His Majesty Akihito stayed in emperorship.
I would also like to congratulate at this opportunity the memorable first centennial of Romania after the Great Unity. We wish further development and prosperity of Romania and its people toward the next centenary and beyond.
In the bilateral context of Romania and Japan we are pleased to report that our cooperation and friendship has been upgraded and enhanced throughout this year.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo ABE was welcomed by His Excellency President Kraus Iohannis in Romania in January this year. We also appreciated the following visits to Japan by Minister of Justice, Mr. Tudorel TOADER in February and Minister of the Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Mr. Radu–Ștefan OPREA in April. Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nobuo KISHI came here as well in July.
Of course in substance too, our distance has been getting closer and narrower.
On the comprehensive relationship important discussions between the experts of both governments have been going on to establish a strategic partnership arrangement bilaterally.
In economy and business as well our cooperation has been broader and deeper. Japanese economy has been working with many Romanian people here, putting the largest amount of investment in Romania at least from Asia. Some of recent expansions in business sectors include new representations in large scale of NTT Data in IT&C sector and of Asahi Breweries in consumer goods, in beverage industry more specifically, in addition to more conventionally established sectors like automotive.
Another most recent development in overall economic area is a visit of trade and investment mission of representatives of Japanese businesses of more than forty people just a couple of weeks ago as another follow-up to the Prime Minister’s visit that I mentioned earlier. The mission had a series of good discussions with relevant government leaders and business counterparts of Romania, and we hope this will lead to many real successes of real collaborations between the two economies. At this opportunity, my embassy would like to renew our deep gratitude to Prime Minister Dancila, Business Environment Minister Oprea, and the presidents of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Prahova and Constanta respectively for their hospitality and assistance for the success of this visit and encouragement to the mission.
A last introduction of another outstanding achievement is about a bridge. It would be nice if you could take a look at a miniature bridge displayed just outside of this hall. It is an image of the Braila Bridge which one of major Japanese engineering and construction companies, IHI will build together with its partners over the Danube River, one of enormous scale and even historical infrastructure projects, which I think Romania greatly needs to develop and upgrade. It will be an important infrastructure, and a bridge, between Romanian and Japanese businesses and peoples as well.
In a wider context of Japan and Europe, we are excited also with the perspective of an imminent development of a couple of also historical agreements. The two Agreements, one for economic partnership and the other for strategic partnership between European Union and Japan are just about to take effect. They were signed earlier this year, and on the part of Japan its parliament has given its consent just Friday last week. The matching action is supposed to be taken by European Parliament tomorrow at its Plenary following the earlier approvals by the relevant Committees.
In this context we thank the Romanian members of the European Parliament for their firm support to these agreements. These agreements are supposed to go into effect during the presidency of Romania in the European Union. We would like to congratulate Romania once again on taking this presidency and look forward to many successes for stronger Europe and closer Europe-Japan under its leadership. We also hope that these Japan-EU agreements, which are huge pacts both in their volume and their substance, once in effect will help greatly promote economic ties in the bilateral channel between Romania and Japan, too.
Furthermore, I feel delighted to share with you here that Japanese Government has decided to introduce a permanent visa waiver to Romanian citizens for visits to Japan of up to ninety days from the start of next year on.
This measure will certainly be a strong push in business and tourism. It prepares also for a much wider scope of opportunity, such as in cultural and other exchange for more understanding and stronger friendship between the peoples and the countries. I hope many Romanian people will visit Japan for a variety of purposes, including taking many cultural elements there, as we have been receiving in here many Japanese artists even during the one month since I arrived in Bucharest, such as musicians of the Shamisen, a Japanese three string instrument and even a powerful performance by a large group of Japanese drum players.
Likewise, we are much encouraged with a lot of warm offers of being sort of “host towns” given by many municipalities of Japan for Romanian athletes who will visit and stay and compete in Tokyo in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the year 2020. There is no doubt that this kind of exchange of local and grassroots level community is very effective to promote understanding and friendship between peoples.
These things are about all we wanted to report to you tonight about the most recent development of friendship between Romania and Japan.
Personally, I am very new in Romania. Chiyoe and I arrived in Bucharest only last month. But we are already very much excited to work with all of you with a centennial occasion of Romania and Japan in 2021 in our sight. We thank you once again for the presence of all of you tonight, and also thank all the sponsors as well who helped us greatly with this gathering.
In conclusion, we wish that every one of you has a very happy holiday season and that we will share a very good year 2019.
Thank you for your patience, and enjoy the evening.