"Greece and Japan have a strategic partnership," says Ambassador Yasunori

Japanese Ambassador Nakayama Yasunori

Japanese Ambassador to Greece, Nakayama Yasunori, and the Japanese embassy celebrated the birthday of his Majesty the Emperor of Japan on Thursday evening with a brilliant reception at the Athens Concert Hall.

In attendance was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Kostas Fragogiannis.

"Japan and Greece enjoy cordial and excellent bilateral relations ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1899, but I humbly believe that no period in our bilateral history witnessed such a rapid developments as last 12 months 2022 started with the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April in Tokyo between Minister Hayashi and Minister Dendias," Yasunori said.

"The two ministers, recognising that both countries share the fundamental value such as democracy, human rights and rule of law including free and open maritime order, discussed not only the bilateral relation but also the variety of international issues including the situation in Ukraine," he added.

The ambassador said that in June, both countries participated in the Posidonia 2022, the most important event in the world of maritime business.

"It served as an excellent occasion to reaffirm the strong ties based on rich maritime history between Japan and Greece, which extends over 70 years. I believe that the maritime sector remains and will remain firmly as the central pillar of our bilateral economic relations."

He also referred to the organisation of a special event to commemorate the heroic rescue conducted by a Japanese merchant ship at Smyrna 100 years ago.

"As most of you already know, during the great fire in Smyrna of September 1922, the Japanese ship named ‘Tokei Maru’ is said to have jettisoned its cargo in order to accommodate more than 800 Greek refugees.

"I have been strongly committed to make this extraordinary story known widely both in Greece and Japan and I will continue making efforts to that end."

At the end of January this year, another significant event took place; the visit by Prime Minister Mitsotakis to Japan.

Nakayama Yasunori explained that it was the first visit to Japan by a Greek Prime Minister in 17 years, "which, I believe, contributed significantly to the strengthening of relations between Japan and Greece."

At their meeting, Kishida and Mitsotakis announced a joint statement which, among others, upgrades our bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership."

During his stay in Japan, PM Mitsotakis and his wife had an audience with Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince and Princess Akishino, which went beyond the scheduled time with very intimate and warm conversations.

On the economic front, Mitsotakis spoke at two large-scaled meetings organized respectively by Keidanren and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), both of which were very fruitful in raising visibility of the bilateral business opportunities and had very substantive meetings with representatives of the Japanese financial sector, including those from Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The Japanese ambassador considers that this very positive momentum created in the economic relations by PM Mitsotakis’s visit to Japan, it is his duty to work hard, together with his Greek partners, in attaining tangible progress in bilateral economic relations, be it investment or trade.

He also said that Japan and Greece will celebrate 125 years of diplomatic relations in 2024, as the "Year of Culture & Tourism."

He concluded by stressing that he is determined to make his utmost efforts to further promote the bilateral relations between Japan and Greece and by asking Greece's continued support to that end.

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