By Gloria Ikibah
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi has reiterated the commitment of the government of Japan to further strengthen relations with Nigeria across all sectors in the incoming administration which is expected to commence on May 29, 2023.
The envoy disclosed this at a reception organised by the Embassy of Japan in Abuja to commemorate the 63rd Birthday of the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito.
According to Kazuyoshi, Japan aspires to be a partner growing together with Africa, focusing on people as individuals, investing in people and quality of growth, investing in the country's economy, and other sectors.
Kazuyoshi said: “This coming May, Nigeria will have a new President. I expect that the friendship and cooperative relationship between Japan and Nigeria will further deepen under Nigeria's new leadership.
“Taking this opportunity, I would like to take you through some of our achievements of the past year.
“Last August, the Japanese government, along with African and International partners, co-hosted the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD 8.
“Japan aspires to be a partner growing together with Africa; focusing on people as individuals, more specifically “investing in people” and “quality of growth”.
“Japan will promote its initiatives with approaches quintessentially Japanese.
“Over the next three years, Japan is going to invest in Africa including Nigeria 30 billion dollars from public and private financial contributions.
“In the economic area, we held the 2nd Japan Nigeria Business Facilitation Council just before TICAD 8, I and my co-chair, Ms. Saratu Umar, CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) agreed to strengthen our cooperation.
“In order to improve Nigeria's business environment and to solve business challenges between our two countries. The aim is to increase Japanese investments in Nigeria.
“One of our achievements was the participation of 20 companies from Japan at the Lagos Trade Fair in November last year.
“This year is the year of the Rabbit. I hope that Japan and Nigeria, and everyone here will, during this year, hop, step and jump “like a rabbit” towards significant achievements”.
He stated that Japan has been actively promoting start-ups and digital transformation in Nigeria targeting the younger generation, entrepreneurs, talented youths.
In his goodwill message, Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, said that Nigeria and Japan
have maintained diplomatic relations since Nigeria's independence in 1960.
The Minister assured that the excellent bilateral relationship between both countries will not change with the incoming administration but rather, it would be further strengthened.
“The trade balance between our countries is very robots with Japanese cars everywhere with purchase of Nigeria's crude oil.
“Additionally, Japan and Nigeria have looked forward to developing further trade ties by creating organizations such as the Japan-Nigeria Business Facilitation Council, which is aimed at increasing the volume of trade between our two countries.
“Since acceding the throne in 2019, His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan has led Japan with wisdom, grace, and compassion, exemplifying the very best of the Japanese spirit.
“Through our shared commitment to peace, prosperity and progress, we can continue to strength the bond between Japan and Nigeria and create a brighter and more fruitful future.
“Nigeria is in the middle of a political succession, while witnessing some changes, we assure you that the ties between Nigeria and Japan will not change.
“We will continue to work together to enhance the development of our bilateral relationship with respect to each other,” Agba said.
Present at the event were Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Members of the Diplomatic Community, Development Partners, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Investigation Promotion Council NIPC, Saratu Umar, among others dignitaries.