RIYADH: I am Iwai Fumio, the Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia. I am grateful that Arab News has given me the opportunity to introduce myself and my assignment here, on the occasion of the 61st birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan Naruhito which falls on Feb. 23.
Since I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I have pursued my career as an Arabist spending many years in this region, including Saudi Arabia. I am delighted and honored to come back here as ambassador of my country. I am looking forward to reuniting with my old Saudi friends and also making many new ones.
I have heard that the Kingdom has witnessed remarkable and significant transformation in various fields during recent years under the framework of the ambitious Vision 2030. I am excited to see such economic and social changes with my own eyes.
The friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and the Kingdom have also witnessed further development in recent years.
Under the framework of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, agreed upon at summit level five years ago, both Japan and the Kingdom have been working hard in many fields so that our two nations develop and prosper together, while contributing to the Saudi social and economic reforms.
Over the last five years, we have made great achievements in numerous fields and implemented jointly as many as 81 projects. Just two months ago, the fifth ministerial meeting was held under this bilateral framework, and 10 memorandums of understanding were signed in new areas of cooperation.
In the field of culture, many events and activities have been held in various parts of the Kingdom against the background of the recent social changes.
I am pleased to hear that more Saudi people are fond of Japanese culture especially anime and Japanese food. To respond to their affinity toward Japan, we will try to offer various virtual PR activities about Japanese culture.
In the same vein, I appreciate the role of Arab News’ special Japanese edition in making news on Japan available to Arab readers.
Finally, while the movement of people remains difficult due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, I sincerely hope that tourists will soon come back to both countries and many Saudi people will visit Japan.