Japan hosts National Day celebration in Pohnpei

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


February 19, 2020

IMG 3642Pohnpei—Ambassador Sobashima, Japan’s Ambassador to the FSM hosted a celebration of Japan’s National Day, the Emperor’s birthday at his home in Nett this evening.  Each year, the people of Japan have celebrated the Emperor’s birthday and that fact did not change after the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in October of 2019.  Emperor Naruhito will be 60 years old on February 23.

Ambassador Sobashima expressed his appreciation to FSM President David Panuelo for having attended the enthronement ceremony and also for his bilateral visit with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  The Ambassador said that during that visit, Prime Minister Abe told the President that Japan would strengthen support for the FSM’s sustainable economic and social development.

Ambassador Sobashima began his speech by saying that he has been impressed by the leadership of President Panuelo, and the efforts of all concerned as the Novel Coronavirus virus crisis has arisen, in order to prevent infection in the FSM.

“The Government of Japan, for its part, is endeavoring to contain and effectively control the disease, including at the cruise ship Diamond Princess. I sincerely hope that we will win this fight against the new infectious disease soon,” he said.IMG 3551

He encouraged those in attendance at the evening’s ceremonies to take advantage of the many hand sanitizers placed around the reception area.

He reminded the invited guests that though Japan and the FSM established diplomatic relations in 1988, their people’s exchanges date back more than 120 years ago.

“In the recent years, while extensive activities of fishing by Japanese vessels have been seen in the waters of the FSM, the Government of Japan has been engaged in various development cooperation projects in the FSM including technical cooperation through people-to-people exchanges by JICA,” he said. “Exchanges organized by private and academic institutions have been also abundant between the two countries.”

“…I am determined to do my best, building upon the long-standing friendly and cooperative relations between our two countries, and in cooperation with the Japanese residents, experts, volunteers, NGOs and companies in the FSM, among other partners, to further advance the relations.

IMG 3530“In the past 4 months, I signed grant contracts to provide a garbage truck to Madolenihmw, Pohnpei State in December last year, and to provide a portable X-ray machine to Chuuk State last month this year.

In addition to my stay in here in Pohnpei State, I visited Chuuk State last month,” he said.

He concluded his remarks with a toast to continued friendly and cooperative relationships between Japan and the FSM.

FSM President David Panuelo began his remarks with an explanation of the FSM’s efforts to protect its citizens from the Novel Coronavirus (now known as COVID-19).

Many times during his Presidency, former FSM President Emmanuel Mori who was in attendance at the ceremony remarked on the bonds of “Kizuna” between Japan and FSM.  “Kizuna” is a Japanese word signifying not just friendship that is intertwined in the same way that the thin elements of a rope is wound and braided so that combined, it is stronger than any individual element.  President Panuelo followed suit in his speech remarking on the strong bonds of friendship between Japan and the FSM.

After dinner was served guests were treated to an unexpected Japanese cultural dance.

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