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

UAE's value of “tolerance” and “coexistence” can tell us a lot !
(April, 2022)
  BIE flag handover ceremony at Expo  (c) Expo 2020 Dubai   National Day Reception  (c) UAE SWY    
       4 months have passed since my arrival here in the UAE. Due to the upsurge of infected cases here from January to February in the wake of worldwide spread of Omicron variant of COVID 19, we were forced to move slow for a while. Fortunately, we have since seen a gradual improvement in the situation, and were able to host a national day reception in Abu Dhabi in late March after the interval of 2 years. I want to thank each of so many participants who kindly joined us in the festive occasion.
       At the end of March, Expo 2020 Dubai closed its curtain after six months of tremendous success. Minister for the World Expo 2025, H.E. Kenji Wakamiya, visited Dubai on this occasion and conducted meetings with UAE dignitaries, including H.H. Sheik Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, as well as Mr. Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary-General of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). In Expo Dubai, Japan pavilion attracted so much attention of so many visitors to the Expo with its interactive approach using digital technologies and its signature hospitality ("omotenashi") of over 80 young attendants. Japan Pavilion was awarded, on the BIE Day of March 30, gold under the category of highly-renowned Exhibition Design for self-built pavilions larger than 2,500 sqm. Through participation in this Expo, I believe Japan was also able to successfully increase its momentum towards Expo 2025 Kansai-Osaka.
       Earlier, there was the "Japan Day" event in December last year. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of the Omicron strain, the scheduled visit of a high-level delegation, including cabinet ministers, had to be cancelled. But, with the cooperation of Japanese expats and other enthusiasts living in the UAE, Japanese "Taiko" drum and martial arts "Iaido" were performed on the stage receiving acclaim from the audience. Being there, I saw an innovative situation where non-Japanese persons played a strong role in the dissemination of Japanese culture. As is the case with Sumo wrestling already, I once again realized that promoters of Japanese traditional culture, performing arts, etc., do not have to be limited to Japanese people.
       In recent years, the UAE has been actively introducing various policy measures for continuous economic development and conducting proactive regional/global diplomacy. Just to cite a few example, as of January 2022, the two-day weekend of Friday and Saturday based on the customs of Muslim countries was changed to a two-and-half day weekend of Friday (half day), Saturday and Sunday, in order to adjust to the rhythm and business management of a global society. Regarding diplomacy, in addition to the normalization of relations with Israel in 2020, we have also been witnessing UAE's rapid warming up of relations with Turkey.
       I can see there is a clear vision and discerning pragmatism behind these domestic policies and diplomatic activities supported by the philosophy of tolerance and coexistence. It may be true that, in a society where approximately 90% of the population is composed of foreign nationals, tolerance and coexistence are something intrinsically required. But, I also believe that, for such a society to maintain its vitality and to maximize the abilities of each individual, and for the UAE as a country to create a most favorable international environment by exercising its flexibility to the fullest where it can, pursuing an all-inclusive approach based on tolerance and coexistence makes a lot of sense. And, for Japan, there is much to learn from this.  
       We also had an official visit by H.E. Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the UAE in March. He conducted a meeting with H.H. Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on a wide-ranging issues of bilateral, regional and global issues. The both ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance the Japan-UAE relations towards the next 50 years while blessing whole-heartedly the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations this year. April is the month of cherry blossoms in Japan, and signifies the start of a new cycle of work/school year, when people are inspired to make a fresh start for their endeavours. With such forward-looking mind, let us carry on with the year of the 50th anniversary!

Recommended Information

logo The 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the United Arab Emirates in 2022