Sayonara Yutaka Yoshizawa

By MAIKA BOLATIKI A good friend of Fiji, the Ambassador of Japan, Yutaka Yoshizawa, has left the country after serving here for three years and four months. At a farewell
27 Feb 2012 13:13

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama (middle), Japanese Ambassador Yutaka Yoshizawa (left) and University of the South Pacific Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra during the opening of the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre Multi-Purpose Lecture Theatre at the USP Laucala Bay Campus on Wednesday. Photo: RAMA


A good friend of Fiji, the Ambassador of Japan, Yutaka Yoshizawa, has left the country after serving here for three years and four months.
At a farewell reception in his honour at his residence at 337 Princess Road, Tamavua on February 20, Ambassador Yoshizawa and his wife, Fumiko, thanked those present, including President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the First Lady, Adi Koila Nailatikau.
Also present at the reception was former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry.
In his farewell speech he said: “During my time in Fiji, a number of positive things have happened to Japan- Fiji relationship as well as in the Japan- Pacific Island Countries relations.
“The Japan USP ICT centre, funded by the Japanese grant assistance and completed during our stay, is expected to play an important role in ICT education and research in the Pacific region. At the multi-purpose lecture theatre, which has been completed in October as the last part of USP ICT centre, a grand opening was scheduled on February 22.
“Also during my stay, JICA has started new technical assistance project in areas such as disaster management and waste management. In October of 2011, JICA has completed the upgrade of seismic observation network in Fiji and Tonga as part of the Project for Operation of Earthquake observation Network.”
During his time in Fiji, the Japanese Embassy was able to present a number of cultural events.
“To name a few, in October 2011, the Embassy presented an exhibition of contemporary Japanese craft at the Fiji Museum. In November 2011, the Embassy presented Ryukyu-Okinawa traditional performing arts tour of the South Pacific ‘CHIMU” group at the Suva Civic Centre. These cultural events have helped the Fijian people to better understand and appreciate the Japanese culture.”
Furthermore, during his term in Fiji, Japan contributed $US66 million to the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat as Pacific Environment Community Fund.
This fund would be used for the purchase of solar power generators or sea water desalination equipment by 14 Pacific island countries, including Fiji.
“By now, projects approved for Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Nauru and Fiji. Projects for other countries are expected to materialise in the foreseeable future.”
Also a joint venture of Japanese and Australian companies has been engaged in the exploration for copper orein the Namosi areas. Mr Yoshizawa gave his assurance that if this leads to a commercial production, a major portion of copper ore mined from that area would be exported to Japan, thus substantially such commercial mining would be also considerable.
During his stay, substantial progress has been made towards such a commercial production.
In 2011, two Fijian nationals have been accepted for participating in JET or Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme for the first time.
They are currently working as English language teaching assistants for high schools and elementary school children in Okinawa, the southern island prefecture of Japan.
Ambassador Yoshizawa’s next post is Pretoria, South Africa, and it is not a new place for him.
“We were stationed in Pretoria from 1998, which was around 10 years ago. We are looking forward to go back and see changes there in the last 10 odd years.”
But again, he gave his assurance that whenever the Flying Fijians and the Springboks rugby teams meet, he would always support the Fijian side, in a discreet manner.
His last official engagement in Fiji was the opening of the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at the University of the South Pacific on February 22 together with Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
In his speech at USP he said: “I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate my appreciation for the cooperation and coordination extended by the Fijian Government in helping successfully complete this project.
“On a personal note, I am very glad that I am able to witness this grand opening of the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre multi-purpose lecture theatre, before I leave, after completing my tenure as Japanese Ambassador in Fiji.”
His parting shot: “I am glad to have witnessed very important developments towards election in 2014, just before my departure from Fiji, including the lifting of PER, the start of constitutional process and the start of electronic voter registration.   Although I am unable to stay in Fiji to witness 2014, I hope that the free and fair election will successfully take place as planned by the Fijian Government. Japan, for its part, is ready to help such a process, whenever required.”
Speaking to the Fiji Sun he said he just loved his time in Fiji and would treasure the Fijian smiles and Fijian hospitality.
Sayonara Yoshizawa.


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