Message from ISOMATA Akio, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Arab Emirates


At the outset of the "Next 50 years" of Japan-UAE relations

(January 2023)



Ambassador Isomata at the Japan Festival


Japanese and Emirati students from the Japanese School, Abu Dhabi, at the Japan Festival

         As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Japan-UAE diplomatic relations last year, we saw major developments and incidents such as the change of the top leadership in the UAE, tragic death of Japan's former Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, exchange of high-level visits including a visit to Japan by H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office. There were also various events both in Japan and the UAE to commemorate the 50 years of the bilateral relations.


         Looking back on the last years' developments on the global scene, my heart really aches for the continuing dire situations in Ukraine caused by Russia's invasion, a serious violation of international law and an outright challenge against international order. As we continue to struggle with early recovery from the impact of COVID 19, the world is facing difficulties in supply chains of various goods, including those of energy and food, being exacerbated by the Russian-Ukrainian war. We see impacts, too, brought on the world economy by these events in the form of slowing down of economy and widespread inflation around the world. We now live in a world of so-called "permacrisis" and "polycrisis" according to the recent terminology.


         Unfortunately, there is no simple and easy solution to the problems caused by these crises. It is such a commonplace, but what we can do in the face of the circumstances is, to deal with issues one by one with focused attention and efforts, taking into account the necessity of a holistic approach. In making these efforts, it is increasingly important to work together with a reliable partner, and I believe the UAE is such a partner for Japan as the two countries have already built up a solid cooperative relationship based on longstanding cooperation in oil and gas, which continues to expand in other areas now. Fully utilizing the valuable assets of this solid relationship, we need to further develop ideas, act on them and bring the bilateral relationship to a higher ground for the benefit of our two countries and the world.


         As a grand-finale event of the 50th anniversary, the Embassy of Japan organized the Japan festival at the end of last year in Abu Dhabi. There were over 2,500 people who visited the festival during the half-day event. The venue was full of people, and many people were unfortunately crowded out of the main event featuring a Japanese drum performance. I was overwhelmed, but also quite impressed, with passion of people in the UAE for Japan and the Japanese culture. I was also glad to see the participation of Japanese high school students from Tokyo, who were visiting the UAE on an exchange program. I must hasten to add that I am extremely grateful for the dedicated support rendered by UAE youth volunteers including that from Japan clubs of various universities here. I was greatly encouraged by the power of these youngsters who will be the leading force of our future bilateral relations.


         Looking ahead, the UAE is hosting COP28 this year. I see that this big event of the year for the UAE provides Japan with good opportunities to come up with new cooperation with the UAE as the world forge ahead with decarbonization and environmental sustainability. Further ahead, Japan is hosting Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 following in the footsteps of Dubai Expo, and there are also ample opportunities for the both countries to work together for the success of the next Expo. There are too many opportunities to exhaust for further development of our bilateral cooperation. As Japan and the UAE enter the next 50 years of cooperation this year, I would like to renew my commitment at the outset to continue to work together hand in hand with all the people in both countries who care for our ever-developing relations. Let’s keep going!


         (Further information: Interview by WAM "50th anniversary year of Japan-UAE ties find increased official interactions, new era of cultural relations: Japanese envoy")


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