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February 22, 2020

60th birthday of Japanese emperor celebrated

Islamabad

February 22, 2020

Islamabad : To celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the Emperor, the ambassador of Japan and Mrs Matsuda Kuninori hosted a reception at the Serena Hotel, which as usual, had Japanese companies showcasing their products in the lobby and inside the hall, screenings of Japanese events, where guests were surprised to learn that Japan had a cricket team!

The event was attended by diplomats of different cadres; entities from across the political divide and guests from different walks of life including members of Pakistan's civil society. The guest of honor was Minister, Power Division, Omar Ayub Khan and the ceremonial cake was cut after the national anthems of both countries had been played. Here it is pertinent to mention that the national anthem of Pakistan was played in an upbeat tempo, which sounded different but enjoyable, inviting a few favorable comments!

Welcoming his guests and thanking them for attending this auspicious event - first in Urdu and then in English - Ambassador Kuninori said this year's reception was very special because this is the first birthday reception after the new Emperor ascended the throne and the new Imperial Reign, named 'Reiwa', began.

He then went on to speak about the economic cooperation between the two countries, which has always been the hallmark of decades-old Japan-Pakistan friendly relations. "I am pleased to introduce the President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Dr. Kitaoka Shinichi, who is present here tonight in order to demonstrate Japan's strong commitment to enhance economic cooperation with Pakistan," he said. "I would like to announce that we just completed a new road at the National route N70 in cooperation with the Japanese construction company, TAISEI Corporation, a vital project for the people of Pakistan. Before this road was built, people had to use a very narrow and dangerous road with sharp curves and steep slopes but now it provides a smoother traffic flow and safe and efficient transportation of heavy vehicles." He then went on to say his government took comprehensive measures for welcoming skilled foreign workers, including Pakistanis; that for the second time, Tokyo is hosting the Olympic and Paralympics Games this summer; announced that the year 2022 marks the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Pakistan, which will be celebrated with many events and concluded by thanking, on behalf of himself and his wife for the wonderful hospitality extended to them. "We assure you that during our stay in Pakistan, we are going to make every effort to further strengthen the long-standing friendship between the two countries and look forward to active support and contribution from our Pakistani friends and counterparts. 'Boht boht shukriyah. Jaapaan Pakistan dostii, Zindabad!"

In his response Omar Ayub said it was a pleasure to be invited to the celebration and wished the Emperor a long and successful reign; acknowledged the presence of senior politician Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who served as the 16th Prime Minister of Pakistan on a temporary basis; reminisced how Ambassador Kuninori's father, who was posted in Karachi in 1961 had presented a memento to his father, which was still displayed in his house and in the end, spoke of the ambitious schemes planned by the present government for the development of the country, especially in the field of energy.

With Japan and Pakistan having a longstanding, durable relationship, as the Emperor moves into another year of his life on February 23rd. we pray for his health and success.