Caption: Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga.
Fiji’s Embassy to Japan recently hosted both the Fijian Community in Japan and friends to their Fiji Day celebrations.
Held at Akasaka in Tokyo, the event saw Fiji’s Resident Ambassador in Japan H.E Isikeli Mataitoga, extend Fiji’s appreciation to the growth in relations between the two countries in the last 43 years.
He said that despite the challenges that were encountered at times during this period, “our relations remain stable based on mutual respect for the sovereignty of our nations; an abiding faith in the values of fairness and reciprocity in our relations and the resolve to use our strong and abiding bilateral relations platform, to build a better future for the peoples of our nations based on caring and fraternal love of our people.”
He highlighted the recent promulgation of the Constitution adding that “the Bainimarama Government has laid a firm and exciting foundation on which Fiji’s future will be built. It will be a future full of hope based on the universal values of all mankind, that of fairness, equality and freedom to pursue ones dream to its fullest extent, while playing ones role in caring for the less fortunate and the weak in our society”.
While commending the contribution by Japan to Fiji in areas of capacity support and assistance, he highlighted new areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“At the community level, work on actively encouraging people-to-people contacts and exchanges between Fiji and Japan is already picking up momentum. With negotiations about to start on re-introducing a direct airline link between our two countries, there is high optimism that more outbound tourism will be generated. After all, Fiji is host to significant number of Japanese students in its high schools and institutions teaching English as a second language and there is potential for growth in this sector as part of our Education Tourism.”
The Honorable Mr Seiji KIHARA, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke on behalf of the Government of Japan to congratulate Fiji on the occasion of its 43rd Independence Day celebration, expressed the goodwill and best wishes of the government and Japanese people towards Fiji. He also reaffirmed the Japanese Government commitment to strengthen further bilateral relations between Fiji and Japan. He committed Japanese Government assistance to Fiji in support of deepening the process of democratization in Fiji.
Honorable Mr Seiichi ETOU, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister was also at the event and stressed the importance of building a solid foundation in trade and political bond between Fiji and Japan. He said that the promulgation of the former’s new Constitution is a catalyst that will further deepen this relationship. Japan still uphold the virtue that Fiji is the hub and gateway to the Pacific Region and every effort should be undertaken to recuperate relationships between the two countries.
As a build up to commemorate the occasion, various activities were carried out as a build up to the main event. This included tourism and cultural activities. Celebrated group Kabu Ni Vanua Cultural Group also performed in Tokyo and in other parts of the country.