Message from the
Ambassador of Japan to Bhutan
  Japan-Bhutan Relations

This year (2011) marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bhutan. On the accomplishment of this historic milestone, I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to all our Bhutanese friends.

On October 13, the wedding of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel and Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema took place with the blessings of all the Bhutanese people. My wife and I had the good fortune and honour to be invited to attend the Royal Wedding as the representative of the Japanese Government. It was indeed a wonderful ceremony which will always remain etched in our memories. I sincerely pray for the everlasting happiness and further prosperity of the Royal Family and the people of Bhutan

Throughout their long history, Japan and Bhutan have nurtured close and cooperative ties in various fields, sharing the mutual understanding of their respective histories, cultures, traditions, and high moral values.

Japan feels great pride and joy as a country that has been supporting the development of Bhutan in many different ways, through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme of the Japanese Government. I would like to share with the Bhutanese people the sense of happiness and satisfaction at the productive outcome of these projects, whose fruits can be seen all over the country.

Japan suffered a tremendous and unprecedented level of destruction due to the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11 this year. Many precious lives and properties were lost, and the Japanese people had to bear unaccountable sorrow and pain. It was the moment when the people of Bhutan led by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck prayed with all their heart for the victims of the tragedy, and extended their healing words of sympathy and encouragement for the eventual recovery and rebuilding of Japan. They truly embodied the proverb: “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. The Japanese people will forever remember with gratitude the heartwarming assistance received from their Bhutanese friends - both in terms of moral as well as material support - in their hour of grief in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary, a number of cultural events are being organized in Bhutan by the Japanese Government. I sincerely hope our Bhutanese friends will witness and enjoy these events showing various aspects of Japanese culture.

In this commemorative year, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Bhutan are scheduled to visit Japan as State Guests from the 15th to the 19th of November. While this will be Their Majesties’ first sojourn to Japan, it would also be the first State Visit to be hosted by Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the Japanese Government, and the Japanese people, are all very much looking forward to the Royal visit. I am certain that through Their Majesties’ visit, the spirit of friendship and goodwill between the Japanese and the Bhutanese people will be further enhanced.

In closing, I would like to wish the Kingdom of Bhutan a prosperous future, and hope for the further cementing of bilateral relations between our two countries.

Akitaka Saiki
Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Bhutan