By Ishrat HyattDecember 02, 2016Print : Islamabad
To celebrate the 83rd birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Takashi Kurai hosted a grand reception at the Serena Hotel which was attended by Pakistanis from many walks of life and of course members of the diplomatic community. The guest of honour was Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Shekh Aftab Ahmad.
The foyer of the Shishmahal Hall housed displays by Japanese companies and NGO’s so that those guests who were interested could make enquiries about the various products and activities -- a real eye opener when it is seen what good work the NGO’s are doing in various fields. Inside there was the usual video screening information about the Japanese lifestyle and a smaller screen near the Sushi table explaining the process of preparing this most favourite of Japanese specialties. And needless to say, the Japanese ladies looked elegant in their kimonos and were the centre of attention for camera buffs!
A pleasant change in the routine was that the of head of Public Affairs, Embassy of Japan, Katsunori Ashida sang the national anthem not only of Japan but also of Pakistan! Needless to say he got an appreciative round of applause from the audience. Dinner was served and members of the embassy.
Welcoming his guests, Ambassador Kurai said Japan and Pakistan have 64 years of friendship consolidated with sincere good will and mutual respect.
“Pakistan is the first country exported cotton to Japan after World War II, which played an important role for the post-war development of our industries,” he said. “Karachi had one of the biggest offices of Japan outside the country for trading companies in 1950’s and 60’s. And Pakistan is one of the first countries to which Japan has provided Official Development Assistance (ODA) since 1954.”
Reminding that the emperor and empress visited Pakistan in 1962 when they were prince and princess, he said 64 years of cordial relationship is a valuable asset and a solid foundation for cooperation but the potential has not yet been fully utilized. “I believe both countries can do more to further strengthen and deepen the already good relationship for the benefit of both.”
Congratulating the Pakistan government on completion of its IMF programme, he said there are positive signs for further development and that there will be further business opportunities for both. “The priorities for the ODA to Pakistan are quality growth, health system, education, disaster management and climate change and we will continue to provide it first and foremost for the sake Pakistani people but at the same time for the deepening of our relationship.”
He concluded by saying that cultural and human exchanges are the very foundation for the relationship from a long-term perspective and with this in mind the embassy organizes events that showcase Japanese culture. “Next year marks the 65th anniversary of Japan-Pakistan diplomatic relations. We will renew ourselves to further develop our close ties in this commemorative year,” he said. “I resolve to deepen our cherished ties which will amplify the welfare of both peoples. Thank you and Shukriya. Enjoy the evening.”
The minister thanked the host for inviting him to the celebration and echoed his words about cooperation and friendship.