Greetings from the Embassy of Japan!
Two and a half years have gone by since I was assigned to India as the Ambassador of Japan. During this period, the Japan-India relationship has flourished to a great extent, and the ties between the peoples of the two countries have become stronger than ever before.
As a reflection of this better-than-ever relationship between Japan and India, there is a noticeable increase in the number of ministerial visits from both sides. Fresh in memory is the recent visit to Japan by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs of India, last March. Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, warmly welcomed Smt. Swaraj and held the 9th Japan-India Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with her, which was followed by the ceremony for Exchange of Notes for new yen loans to India, worth about 150 billion Japanese yen, and a joint press conference.
In their Strategic Dialogue, both Ministers broadly exchanged opinions from the strategic viewpoint about the main agendas between the two countries, such as politics and security, economic relations including high speed railway and ODA, as well as people-to-people exchanges including Japanese language education, sports exchange and regional exchange.
The two Ministers recognized the importance of further strategic cooperation on maritime security, including port calls in India by vessels of the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Forces. They also decided to strengthen the Japan-India Track 1.5 Dialogue, a framework for dialogue between governments and private sectors of the two countries, and to hold the dialogue as the “Indo-Pacific Dialogue”.
Minister Kono and Minister Swaraj also exchanged their opinions on global agendas such as terrorism, UN Security Council reform, and disarmament and non-proliferation. I was present at the meeting and could feel the strong determination of the two ministers to achieve concrete outcomes to lay the grounds for Prime Minister Modi’s forthcoming visit to Japan some time later this year.
The visit to India by Prime Minister Abe last September achieved an unprecedented level of success. Now, we at the Embassy of Japan, are following up vigorously on the initiatives that were taken during this historical visit.
Based on the Memorandum of Cooperation between the two Governments, the Japan-India Act East Forum was established last December, co-chaired by the Foreign Secretary and myself, to boost the cooperation on the North East’s development and to foster people-to-people exchanges with the North Eastern Region. The North Eastern Region carries strategic weight as a place where Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” and India’s “Act East Policy” converge. The region also bears historical and cultural connections with Japan, owing to the memories of WWII. Against these backgrounds, Japan is determined to enhance its cooperation with the North Eastern Region, as well as accelerate people-to-people exchanges.
Disaster risk reduction is another area where Japan and India can efficiently and effectively cooperate, given the fact that both countries are highly prone to natural disasters. Against this backdrop, the two Prime Ministers, in acknowledgement of the efforts to develop cooperation in disaster prevention, response, recovery and reconstruction, signed on the Memorandum of Cooperation on Disaster Risk Reduction in September 2017. In a follow-up on this initiative, we, in cooperation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and NDMA of the Government of India, successfully launched the first Japan-India Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction, last month.
Significant progress has also been made in the area of Japanese language education. Mr. Vijay Gokhale, Foreign Secretary, and I, set up a steering committee on Japanese language education in March this year, to pave the way for establishing Japanese Language certificate courses at 100 institutions and training 1000 teachers of Japanese language in 5 years.
Nevertheless, there is still plenty of room for strengthening our relationship. Notably, much remains to be done for enhancing people-to-people exchanges, by building upon the momentum which we currently enjoy. Through cultivation of mutual understanding between the people of Japan and India, we would like them to become more aware of the “proximity” between our two nations.
We, the Embassy of Japan in India, are working vigorously every day to elevate this already advanced relationship to an even higher level. I myself am frequently meeting with high-ranking officials, including cabinet ministers, to 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. It is my constant endeavor to visit as many States as possible, to exchange views with Governors and Chief Ministers, on the deepening of our economic and development cooperation.
The officials of the Embassy of Japan to India, including myself, re-affirm our firm commitment to making every effort required for developing the Japan-India relationship in a multi-faceted manner. We hope that we can count on your support for our continued efforts towards achieving tangible results and fostering our bilateral friendship.
25 April, 2018
Ambassador of Japan to India
Ambassador's Message (12/2016)
Ambassador's Message (05/2016)