Japan and Samoa celebrate 40 years of diplomatic ties

Ambassador right with the Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Masiofo Filifilia and JICA officer

Ambassador Jazuaki Nogawa with the Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Masiofo Filifilia and Kazumasa Shibuta of the Japan Apia Embassy

By Unumoe Esera

APIA: TUESDAY 29 JANUARY 2012: This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Samoa and Japan.

The new Ambassador of Japan to Samoa, His Excellency Yazuaki Nogawa stated this when he presented his credentials to the Head of State His Highnesss Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi at his residence at Tuaefu this morning.

“Your Highness, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Over these years Japan and Samoa have developed a strong and productive partnership which Japan greatly values.

“We have worked together in promoting peace, security and prosperity in both the Pacific Region and the world. I am particularly pleased with the establishment of the Embassy of Japan in Apia during this memorable year,” said Ambassador Nogawa.

The Head of State also emphasised the importance of the relationship of the two countries.

“Excellency, this coming March will mark 40 years since Samoa and Japan established diplomatic relations. Over the course of this time, Samoa has enjoyed a close partnership with Japan in the development of many sectors of Samoa’s economy including education, health, environment, agriculture, fisheries, human resource development and infrastructure. I take this opportunity to express through you to the Government of Japan our sincere appreciation of the valuable assistance Japan has made to the development aspirations of our country.

In 2009,the Government of Samoa opened its Embassy in Tokyo and just last month the Government of Japan established its Embassy here in Apia with it’s official opening scheduled in a few months time. These developments testify to the mutual goal of further strengethening relations between our two countries,” said His Highness, Tui Atua.

Ambassador Nogawa also expressed his deepest sympathies for the havoc and destruction caused by Cyclone Evan last month which affected the country.

“Taking this opportunity on behalf of the Government and people of Japan I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Your Highness and to all Samoans and in particular to those most affected by the devastating  Tropical cyclone Evan that struck in December. I sincerely hope that the disruption caused by the cyclone will be alleviated as soon as possible. I strongly believe that given the resiliency and solidarity of the Samoan people together with the support of the international community Samoa will recover from this tragedy,” said Ambassador Nogawa.

Ambassador Nogawa is a career diplomat. After graduating from the Faculty of Law in Hitotsubashi University he entered Japan’s Foreign Ministry. He has served overseas in severals posts in Australia, France, India, Myanmar, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. He was first appointed as an Ambassador in 2002 when he became the Japanese Ambassador to the International Organisations in Geneva. In August 2007 he was appointed as Japan’s Ambassador to Myanmar. In 2011, he was appointed as Director-General of the Foreign Service Training Institute of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  His previous appointment before becoming the Ambassador to Samoa took place in December 2012 when he became Japan’s Ambassador to New Zealand and he is now based in Wellington.

Mr. Nogawa will administer the official opening of the Japanese Embassy in Apia in March. Mr Kazuma Shibuta has been appointed as Charge d’Affaires ad interim for the Japanese Embassy here. He arrived in December 2012 to take up the post which was around the same time the embassy was established.

Ambassador Nogawa takes over the post from former Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Mr Hideto Mitamura.

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