The Embassy of Japan in Samoa celebrates Japanese Emperor Akihito’s 85th birthday at the Taumeasina Island Resort.
Initially Emperor Akihito’s birthday falls on the 23rd of December but since this date coincides with Christmas holidays, it was then decided that all Embassies abroad celebrate it in advance.
During Japanese Ambassador to Samoa, Maugaoleatuolo Shynia Aoki’s speech he said this year also marks 45 years of Japan-Samoa diplomatic relations and the bilateral relations between the two countries has been excellent so far, and continued to register successful results.
“Many of the projects over the years have been realized through JICA before the Embassy here in Samoa co-opens its doors under the Embassy of Japan in New Zealand in 2013 until last year – where we got separated from the Embassy in New Zealand and operated independently,” said Maugaoleatuolo.
“Unfortunately, due to his age and health that would make it difficult to fulfil his duties, Emperor Akihito will abdicate in April 2019.
“His son the Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed his duties after the enthronement in May 2019. This is our last year to celebrate Emperor Akihito’s birthday in November.”
He went on to say that Japan is continuously committed to assist Samoa through its Grant Aid projects introduced and commenced in 1977 aimed at the contribution to promoting the economic and social development of Samoa.
“This program has enabled the enhancement and safety criteria of several projects through various sectors but mainly for construction of economic infrastructure such as the airport, seaport and seawall,” he said.
“One of these projects is“The Project for the Construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre” is expected to complete in June of next year.
“This centre aims to enhance the operational capacity and improve the skills and expertise of those from other Pacific Island countries involved and are at the forefront of climate change by ensuring that the Pacific Climate Change Centre is a key research facility of SPREP in Samoa and ultimately to contribute to improving Samoa’s resilience against domestic and regional environment and climate change.
“In addition, we have a scheme called the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects or GGP in short, started in 1991 to date, more than 170 projects have already been implemented for community development through reconstruction and extending of school buildings, support women activities, water systems and so on.”
Moreover, Maugaoleatuolo believes Japan’s cooperation with Samoa continues to grow and strengthen as we approach 2019 with the much anticipation of the Ceremony of the Enthronement of the new Emperor of Japan, the 2019 Rugby World Cup for the Manu Samoa to take part in and the Olympics and Paralympics Games, Tokyo 2020.
“Lastly he ac knowledge the JICA team for their dedication in Samoa’s development in the past decades such as o thank the team at JICA for their dedication in Samoa’s development these past decades such as cooperation in solid waste management, water sector development and power sector expansion, as well as training programs in Japan, dispatch of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and Grant Aid projects in various sectors including port development, shipping vessels and water supply.”
The celebration was well attended by Prime Minister, cabinet ministers as well as the government officials.