Japanese in Rwanda celebrate new emperor

R-L: Amb. Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese envoy to Rwanda, chats with Foreign Affairs minister Dr Richard Sezibera, and Amb. Charles Murigande, former Rwanda’s envoy to Japan, as other guests look on in Kigali on Thursday. Craish Bahizi.

The Japanese community in Rwanda gathered on Thursday evening to celebrate the ascension of a new emperor to the throne of the Imperial Japan.

Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne at a ceremony on Wednesday in Tokyo, ushering in a new era for the first time since his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, took over the throne 30 years ago.

Akihito, 85, said he decided to abdicate on medical grounds, marking this the Asian country’s first abdication in about 200 years.

At the residence of the Japanese embassy in Kigali where Japanese and their friends made a toast to celebrate the ‘Reiwa era,’ a period of “beautiful harmony” marked by Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the throne.

Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, was the host of the evening.

Miyashita said that with the beginning of a new era, he was confident that relations between japan and Rwanda will even grow stronger,

“I expect with well-grounded confidence that the level of Japan-Rwanda bilateral corporation will be developing further during the new era,” he said.

He highlighted some recent achievements in the cooperation of both countries, among which Japanese companies operating in Rwanda have increased from four to 27 in a period of just four years.

He hinted on the soon-to-be-launched Rwasat, the first satellite which has been assembled by Rwandan engineers with support from the University of Tokyo.

According to Miyashita, it is to be completed soon and will be handed over to Rwanda at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency later this month.

Dr Richard Sezibera, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, said that the new ‘Reiwa era’ is an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the leaders of post-war Japan, including Emperor Emeritus Akihito.

“The post-war period has been marked by an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity in Japan; and Japan has contributed immeasurably to the peace and prosperity of the world,” he said.

In addition, Sezibera said that the relations between Japan and Rwanda are at an impressive stage.

Here, he gave an example of President Kagame’s latest working visit to Japan where he not only met the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe  but also Emperor Emeritus Nakihito, in a move to solidify the ties between the two countries,

“As we celebrate the ascension of His Majesty to the throne I note with satisfaction that an effective and multifaceted relationship has been established and consolidated between Rwanda and Japan based on mutual trust,” he said.

According to Sezibera, Japan and Rwanda are cooperating in trade and investment, education, energy, ICT, among other fields.

The 59-year-old Naruhito is the nation’s 126th Emperor. He was educated in Tokyo and at UK’s Oxford. He is a keen historian, water transportation researcher, and memoirist. He has also spoken out on environmental issues for decades.




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