Emperor Naruhito's birthday marked in Samoa
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has thanked the people and government of Japan, saying Samoa-Japan bilateral relations continue to be strengthened and Japan’s development assistance is confirmation of the deepening ties.
Tuilaepa was among guests including Cabinet Ministers as well as Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who attended a reception last Friday hosted by the Embassy of Japan at the Taumeasina Island Resort to mark the birthday of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito.
Japan’s Ambassador to Samoa, Genichi Terasawa, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Emperor and government of Japan to their guests for being able to attend the reception.
"This is not only a birthday celebration but a celebration of our friendship, we thank you for your presence here tonight,” he said. “I am excited to have established many people-to-people exchange and this partnership, Japan and Samoa have helped each other as equal partners since the establishment of diplomatic ties, and continuously supported Japan in many international forums such as the United Nation.”
Japan’s contribution to Samoa’s development, through its development assistance program run by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was also highlighted in the speech of the Ambassador.
“Japan has also assisted the social economy with the program for Samoa, such as grants projects like the ongoing construction of the Vaisigano bridge soon to be completed, capacity development programs for many hostile and development projects for the improvement of primary school and facilities,” he added.
The Ambassador said Japan’s support for the strengthening of the marine systems in the Pacific, which JICA currently runs which also covers Samoa, confirms its determination to address environmental and global issues.
The Emperor hopes for a disaster free year and this is a prayer that Samoa shares with them, he added.
The Prime Minister told the invited guests that the Samoa-Japan partnership remains strong and he was happy to be part of the celebrations.
"I am delighted to be here to celebrate with you all, this is the first birthday celebration since the enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Nruhito and his Highness the Head of State and Masiofo were amongst the special guests,” he said. “Samoa and Japan have continued to develop and strengthen relations and enhance genuine durable partnerships, this was a gained evidence in the response and support from Japan through medical teams that worked with us and our partners during the measles epidemic.”
Samoa is grateful for Japan’s support during the measles epidemic, added Tuilaepa, and Samoan citizens’’ thoughts and prayers are with Japan with the looming threat of the coronavirus.
Currently, assistance provided by the Japan government supports the transport and infrastructure, water sanitation education, environmental and disaster management and health.
The Prime Minister said the Vaisigano Bridge Project and its significance to addressing climate change is a major project supported by the government of Japan.
"The ongoing construction of Vaisigano bridge enhances our climate change resilience and prevention against severe flooding to the residence along the riverbanks in cruising tourism infrastructure has ensured connectivity between the central businesses and the rest of the country's links we look forward to its completion,” he added.