My name is TAKAHASHI Katsuhiko. I arrived in Malaysia last week as the new Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia. As I completed my 7-day quarantine today, I would like to send my very first greetings to my new Malaysian friends.
Although I have visited Malaysia on business trips and on holidays, this will be the first time for me to live and work in Malaysia. My wife Mami and I are very much looking forward to living in Malaysia, which has contemporary landscapes with rich natural environment, and where multi ethnic people and culture live in harmony.
At the same time, I am bracing myself as the timing of my ambassadorship to Malaysia coincides with preparations underway to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Japan-Malaysia diplomatic relations, as well as the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy in 2022.
I have read that the origin of the word “Kuala Lumpur” derives from the literal translation of the “muddy confluence of two rivers”. Expanding on the idea, if I compare Japan-Malaysia relations to a river, this river in my image is a big river that flows smoothly. Furthermore, this river is maintained under the cooperation between our two countries at the appropriate timing and means, so that the river will develop to a wider and deeper river to benefit both Japan and Malaysia.
And no matter how good the river’s condition is, the current bilateral relationship should not be taken for granted. Rather, it is important to continue discussions and deepen mutual understanding to pass this relation on to the next generation, and turn the focus onto our ties in the next 10 years’, 20 years’ time.
As strategic partners, bilateral relations between Japan and Malaysia are making a steady progress. Close economic relationship is underpinned including some 1,500 Japanese companies proactively investing in Malaysia. Moreover, our bilateral relations are enhancing comprehensively with areas such as diplomacy, security, culture, and education.
The foundation of this excellent bilateral relation is due to the aforementioned Look East Policy (LEP). So far, 26,000 Malaysians have studied or trained in Japan through LEP. Upon coming back to Malaysia, they are contributing immensely to mutual understanding and promoting friendly relations as important bridges between our two countries.
Next year when we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEP, various commemorative events are to be planned throughout the year. All Malaysians are welcome to join the celebration, and we are happy to give assistance when necessary.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, people-to-people-exchanges and travel are largely constrained. While hoping for an early normalization of the two-way flow of people between Japan and Malaysia, in the meantime, please refer to our Embassy’s website for updated information.
As a first step of my mission here in Malaysia, I look forward to meeting with as many Malaysian people as possible, experience the beauty of the multicultural diversity that Malaysia has to offer, and explore the delicious variety of foods and visit wonderful places.
And through continuous discussions and conversations, I endeavor to promote mutual understanding, which will contribute to further enhancement of the already cordial relations enjoyed between Japan and Malaysia.
Thank you and terima kasih.