One year has passed since I was posted to India as the Ambassador of Japan. During this period, I have met a number of Indian people and nurtured our friendships. I am delighted that they have expressed goodwill and a sense of respect toward Japan.
I realize every day that the Japan-India relationship has greatly flourished and has entered a new era. Japan and India share fundamental values, such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We also have many things in common historically and culturally, which form the foundation of our friendship. On these bases, we have also developed our economic and investment ties dramatically.
The relationship of trust between Prime Minister Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Modi of India is extremely solid. PM Abe regards PM Modi as one of the most trustworthy world leaders. They have held eight summit meetings, including three annual summit meetings. I have never witnessed any pair of leaders who can discuss issues, including strategic agenda, as candidly as these two PMs do.
During PM Modi’s visit to Japan from November 10 to 12, Japan and India successfully demonstrated the steady deepening of our bilateral relationship with tangible outcomes. The most salient achievements included the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, and the announcement of roadmaps regarding the construction of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail. I have always believed that a diplomacy that bears fruit is essential. Now, I feel that my belief is translating into reality.
The relationship between Japan and India is described as the “Special Strategic and Global Partnership,” which surpasses ordinary bilateral relationships. For Japan, India has been our essential partner to tackle together volatile regional situations as well as world situations amid massive changes. Thanks to the echoing of PM Abe’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” and PM Modi’s “Act East Policy,” the share of our strategic visions – regional connectivity and the importance of the rule of law on the maritime domain – is advancing. Discussions on our bilateral cooperation in third countries in Southwest Asia and Africa are also progressing. Japan and India acknowledge with one another that they should play more important roles in the international community, and are closely cooperating with each other in the field of the United Nations Security Council Reform.
We, the Embassy of Japan to India, work vigorously every day to elevate this already advanced relationship to an even higher level. I also meet with high-ranking officials, including cabinet ministers, and advocate the importance of strategic cooperation between Japan and India, and discuss the challenges we need to overcome together, such as the improvement of infrastructure and welfare of the people in India. Since my arrival in November 2015, I have exchanged views on the deepening of our economic and development cooperation with Governors and Chief Ministers of twelve states and two Union Territories.
Nevertheless, there is still plenty of room for strengthening our relationship. Notably, we have much to do to enhance people-to-people exchanges. So far, the number of visitors from Japan to India is approximately 200,000 annually, while that from India to Japan is approximately 100,000. These numbers are quite small. Japan would like to galvanize these exchanges by relaxing the requirement of visas for Indian citizens and promoting the major attractions of Japan. From this perspective, we will mark the year of 2017 as a year of further deepening Japan-India exchanges in the fields of culture and tourism, and hold various promotional events. Through nurturing mutual understanding between the people of Japan and India, we would like them to become aware of the “proximity” between our two nations.
The officials of the Embassy of Japan to India, including myself, promise that we will make every effort to develop the Japan-India relationship in a multi-faceted way. We hope that we can count on your help to continue achieving tangible results, and further nurture our bilateral friendship.
Ambassador of Japan to India
Ambassador's Message (05/2016)