DUBAI: Japan Day took place on Dec. 11 at Dubai Expo 2020 with several celebratory and cultural performances on display for visitors.
Despite the travel restrictions the new Omicron variant presented in Japan, the Japan Pavilion’s organizers were able to rely on local talents, including the school children from the Japanese school in Dubai.
Other performances included aikido drumming and a parade that went all around the Opportunity District at Expo.
Several Japanese and UAE officials were also present to celebrate Japan Day, including Ambassador of Japan to the UAE ISOMATA Akio and UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri.
Al Amiri gave a speech at the official opening ceremony, commending the relationship between the UAE and Japan.
We were privileged to celebrate the National Day of Japan at Expo 2020 Dubai today in the presence of His Excellency Akio Isomata, Ambassador of Japan to the United Arab Emirates, who was accompanied by Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri,— Expo 2020 Dubai (@expo2020dubai) December 11, 2021
“Japan’s Pavilion, under the theme of ‘Where Ideas Meet,’ demonstrates to the world that the importance of collaboration and the development of culture, ideas and teaching for a better tomorrow,” she explained. “We greatly appreciate the enthusiasm with which Japan has embraced our Expo theme and value their commitment to creating an exhibition that utilizes cutting edge technology to present Japanese context.”
The UAE Minister also extended her thanks to the Pavilion’s Commissioner General NAKAMURA Tomiyasu and Ambassador Isomata for organizing the Japanese exhibition. She also congratulated them on the upcoming Osaka, Kansai Expo 2025.
“The UAE’s own journey of engagements with world Expos began in Osaka in 1970, and we look forward to going back after 55 years to showcase how far we have come as nations and a friend of Japan,” Al Amiri said.
Ambassador Isomata also gave a few words on behalf of the Government of Japan at the ceremony.
“Bilateral relations between Japan and the UAE have been developing over the past 50 years in a variety of areas beyond longstanding cooperation in the field of oil exploration and trade, such as infrastructure, renewable energy, outer space, food, health care, tourism, sports, creative industries,” Isomata said.
In terms of education, the ambassador explained, the two countries have been collaborating since 2006, when 43 Emirati students enrolled in the Japanese School in Abu Dhabi.
“In four years from now, Japan will host the next Expo, Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai. Its theme is ‘Designing Future Society for Our Lives.’ Building upon the legacy of Dubai Expo, we intend to provide a venue to discuss ways of happy life for each individual and the future socio-economic system to support it,” he added.
Dubai’s Consul-General of Japan SEKIGUCHI Noboru also attended the celebrations for Japan Day. The UAE and Japan delegations both visited the respective nations’ pavilions.
Speaking exclusively to Arab News Japan, JETRO’s Director-General ISHIHARA Kenichi said that Japan Day was meant to have a big delegation visiting Dubai.
“However, due to the Omicron variant travel restrictions, we requested help and cooperation from the local Japanese community,” he said. “There were, of course, challenges but we recovered and minimized it.”
Ishihara said that the world and Japan has learned how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, if the virus is still in effect by 2025, when the Osaka Expo will take place, then he said he believed they are prepared.
“We can find a way to host these types of events, as it was evident with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics as well as the Dubai Expo 2020,” he explained.
The Japan Pavilion’s Secretary General YABUNAKA Aiko also told Arab News Japan that she believed Japan Day at Dubai Expo was successful.
“The community in the UAE helped us a lot and I think Expo is about meeting each other. There was a Japanese drum but performed by multinational performers and I think this is what Expo is really about,” she said. “I hope visitors enjoyed Japan Day as much as we did.”