It is almost one year since the Great East Japan Earthquake which struck on 11th March last year. On this occasion, with a deepest prayer for the victims of the earthquake and its aftermath, I would like to express my renewed gratitude for the assistance, heartfelt sympathy and good wishes from the Government and the people of Rwanda as well as members of the international community. In fact, Rwanda was one of the first countries which extended sincere condolences to the Government and the people of Japan and offered a swift support at the difficult time. Such warm support has enabled Japan to make a steady progress for reconstruction and revitalization.
The disaster affected areas, including their infrastructure and economies, are firmly on their way to recovery. In the other affected areas including the Tokyo metropolitan areas, the daily lives of people are back to normal. Many Japanese companies have recovered at an astonishing speed, with their supply chains fully restored. Therefore, I am delighted to declare that there is no major obstacle to visit Japan for business, study or sightseeing.
Although this past year has been a difficult time for Japan facing extraordinary challenges brought by the earthquake, it has also produced an opportunity to reaffirm the resilience of Japan and its people, and the importance of kizuna, the bond of friendship, with the international community.
We would like to take this adverse situation to transform challenges into opportunities and continue to make active international contributions. It is Japan’s responsibility to share the knowledge and lessons learned from the disaster with the international community, ranging from post-disaster reconstruction, disaster risk reduction to green economy promotion. In Africa in particular, we will strengthen our cooperation through the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) process, by holding the TICAD V in Japan next year to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Japan as a lead runner in addressing challenges aims to launch new directions for the development of Africa, reflecting recent drastic changes on and around this continent. Your kind cooperation for the success of the TICAD V will be highly appreciated.
Lastly I would like to reiterate that Japan will accelerate its open-reconstruction process and that it will reciprocate your cordial support, which will be in the hearts and thoughts of Japanese people forever, by realizing human security through achieving world economic growth for all. I believe that this will be among the many ways to pay tribute to the victims.
Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda