Zim, Japan relations move a gear up

RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and Japan have gone a gear up, with the two countries intensifying collaboration across many sectors including agriculture, health and education, outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Satoshi Tanaka, has said.

This is in sync with President Mnangagwa’s mantra that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and enemy to none and also dovetails with the country’s diplomatic charm offensive under the engagement and re-engagement drive.

Already, Harare and Tokyo are working on a project that will see Zimbabwe increase its rice production capacity exponentially.

The Japanese Ambassador yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare to bid him farewell following the completion of his tour of duty in Zimbabwe.

In an interview after a closed-door meeting with President Mnangagwa, Amb Tanaka said bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Japan continued to grow, describing them as “very important”.

“This afternoon I am here to say goodbye to His Excellency President Mnangagwa and I actually really feel sad to leave for Japan next week. I had a good discussion with the President and the President said please come back and enjoy Zimbabwe again.

“His Excellency said the bilateral relationship between Zimbabwe and Japan is going forward and we had a discussion on a lot of issues; agriculture, education and other sectors.

“I reported to him about our new project on rice production. The First Lady visited Japan last year and she invited one very important expert in rice production to Zimbabwe and he is now trying to promote and experiment how we can further grow rice here. I think its very promising and I reported on the results of his research and the President said it’s very promising.

“We discussed that we must continue to strengthen our co-operation and collaboration in the future. That is a very important area,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s participation at the World Expo 2025 to be held in Osaka, as well as its participation at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), will further cement relations between the two countries.

“In addition to the Osaka Expo 2025, we will have another important

meeting that is the TICAD meeting in 2025 and of course the Government to Government co-operation is very important and also the business relationship is very important, it is fundamental for the market.

“I really hope that more Japanese companies are interested and visiting and hopefully investing in the Zimbabwe market. I also hope that Zimbabwean businesses are interested in the Japanese market and are promoting their industry of trade,” he said.

The Japanese envoy said Zimbabwe “yakanaka” when asked how he had found his three-year stay in the country.

He said he would encourage Japanese nationals to visit other parts of Zimbabwe including Nyanga and Hwange, as most of them were only coming for the Victoria Falls.

“It was wonderful, nyika yakanaka. After the Covid-19 was subdued, I believe that there have been more Japanese tourists visiting Zimbabwe but unfortunately most of them are just visiting Victoria Falls but I know there are so many places to go to in Zimbabwe including Nyanga, Hwange and others so I believe they can be informed more about Zimbabwe’s charm,” Amb Tanaka said.

Herald

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