Japan Holds National Reception Day

By Dennis Kweku Moore

This year's National Day reception was held at the Japanese ambassador's residence last Wednesday and attracted a host of dignitaries and ambassadors and diplomats in the country as well as government officials.

Present at the function was the Minister Of Finance And Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Tekper.

His Excellency Mr. Naoto Nikai recounted the Japanese government's commitment in sustaining the long standing relationship between the two countries as well as progress reports on the developmental projects being honored by the Japanese government.

His Excellency the Japanese ambassador expressed his appreciation to the Ghana government for supporting japans' candidature in securing the Olympics and Paralympics slot for the Tokyo 2020.ambassador Nikai expressed his personal desire I seeing the black stars of Ghana square up against the Samurai of Japan in the world cup finals to be stage in Brazil.

In response to the Japanese ambassador speech, Hon Finance minister Seth Tekpe, on behalf of the Government, took opportunity to address the gathering about the government's effort and strides in tackling economic and social issues in the country and the will to even do better. He further reiterated the government's desire to strengthen the concrete relationship between the two countries.

The event was to show toast of love and celebration of the 80th birthday of his Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan as well as highlighting the growth of social and economic ties between Japan and Ghana.

Enjoy the full speeches of the Japanese ambassador and honorable finance minister Seth Tekpe.

Japanese Ambassador Speech

Honorable Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Emmanuel Tekper, Former President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor Hon. Members of Council of State, Hon. Members of Parliament, Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, All Protocol Observed,

Good evening,
I would like to express my profound gratitude to all present here tonight for joining us in celebrating the 80th birthday of His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The warm and close relationship between Japan and the Republic of Ghana which has been fostered over the years has deepened even more this year.

In June, the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD V, was held in Yokohama.

TICAD V was a huge success, attended by 51 African leaders.

H.E. Mr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana led the Ghanaian delegation.

Japan, once again, confirmed its commitment to work together with African countries towards the growth and development of Africa.

During TICAD V, Prime Minister Abe and President Mahama held bilateral talks. Prime Minister Abe informed the President of the readiness of the Government of Japan to consider resumption of Japanese ODA loan to Ghana. Both leaders also agreed to launch official negotiations towards a
bilateral investment treaty to promote investment between the two countries.

In the wake of TICAD V, the exchanges of personnel at the political level increased. In August, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs visited Ghana for the second time this year. Subsequently two parliamentary delegations visited Accra.

From Ghana, following the visit of President Mahama, we received the Honorable Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, last month, and the Honorable Minister of Health, Mrs. Hanny Sherry Ayittey who is presently in Japan for a conference. These and other visits have contributed significantly to the further promotion and expansion of our bilateral relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of our economic cooperation.
In 1963, JICA started operations by providing technical cooperation for the textile technique training centre. Since then, our partnership has expanded in the areas of health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, industry, and capacity building.
In the area of health, a ground breaking ceremony will be held next week in Wa for the construction of more than 70 Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPs). This project is part of the Japanese effort to help improve maternal and child health in Ghana.
Our support in the health sector includes the annual health sector budget support; dispatching experts and volunteers; and receiving Ghanaians for training. We also provide scholarships to Ghanaian officials enabling them to pursue post-graduate studies in public health in Japan. Cooperation at the Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Institute remains the symbol of our partnership in this field.
Infrastructure building is another priority area. The rehabilitated National Trunk Road N8 will soon be officially handed over.

The grant assistance for this N8 project amounted to approximately 100 million US dollars. The road from Bekwai to Assin Praso is now operational, and includes a new bridge over Pra River.
I am delighted to inform you that the rural power distribution improvement project, which will service Sunyani and Tamale areas, is on the horizon.

In addition, a project to build a new bridge over the Volta River along the Eastern Corridor is making headway. This project is planned as the first to be financed by the yen loan I previously referred to. As you can see, Japan is committed to continue working with Ghana for the development of this nation.

Our area of cooperation also covers contribution to peace and security in the region. We continue to support the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center's Small Arms and Light Weapons management courses through UNDP. This year Japan made special provisions for additional support in light of the current situation in the Sahel region. Japan has also sent Japanese experts to provide training for administrative officers of the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Ambassador of Japan, one of my most important missions is to facilitate business partnerships between the two countries. So, I am very happy to see that the interest in Ghana by the Japanese private sector is mounting steadily.

In July, more than 20 major companies from Japan representing various sectors visited Accra under the auspices of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

In the field of energy the ground breaking ceremony for Takoradi 2 power plant project was held in April. Mitsui is participating in this project. Furthermore, a major business deal was struck by the Mitsui Ocean Development Corporation, or MODEC, this year. A new and second Floating Production Storage and Offloading system (FPSO) will be provided to the TEN offshore block in Ghana.

I would like to add that, JETRO, with the kind cooperation of Melcom Group, will showcase various new Japanese products next February. Some of the sample products are displayed tonight, here at this residence. It is my sincere hope that the economic ties between the two countries will expand significantly over the next decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government and the people of Ghana for your support towards Japan's candidacy for the Olympics and Paralympics 2020. We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Japan, in the spirit of O-MO-TE-NA-SHI, Japanese hospitality, at its best, in 2020.

The Games in 2020 will definitely give opportunities to strengthen our friendship and to promote cooperation in the area of sports.

FIFA 2014 World Cup will surely be another occasion for that. Now, please allow me to congratulate the Black Stars of Ghana for qualifying for the FIFA 2014. I look forward to seeing Samurai Japan and Black Stars tackle one another in Brazil next year.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The process of this past Presidential election has demonstrated once again the strong democratic credentials of Ghana. I would like to congratulate the Ghanaian people on this achievement and pray that H.E. President Mahama would continue to lead this country forward.

Now, may I humbly request all of you to raise your glasses and join me in a toast to the health of H.E. Mr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and to the prosperity of Ghana. May today's occasion mark another step in strengthening the warm and friendly ties between Japan and the Republic of Ghana.

Thank you.

Finance Minister's Speech

Your Excellency, Naoto Nikai, Ambassador of Japan to Ghana
Honourable Members of the Council of State,
Hon. Minister of State,
Hon. Members of Parliament,
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Traditional and Religious Leaders,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to join you this evening to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Majesty, Emperor Akihito. The friendship between Ghana and Japan dates back to 1927 and we are honouredin joining our Japanese friends to observe this happy occasion.

To this end, I wish to convey on behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the Government and People of Ghana, and in my own name, warmest felicitations and best wishes on this auspicious occasion through Your Excellency to His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan, the Prime Minister and the Government and people of Japan.
I also wish to take this opportunity on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the Japanese volunteers in Ghana to thank the Government and people of Japan for the tremendous services rendered by the Volunteers, to the people of Ghana in different sectors of the economy.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Indeed,2013 has witnessed remarkable enhancement in relations between Ghana and Japan. Despite the suspension of the Yen loan to Ghana after it joined the ranks of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative in 2001, Japan continues to be one of the most important bilateral and multilateral partners of Ghana with its aid which has helped in the construction of community health posts, truck roads, rehabilitation works, construction of river bridges, rural power distribution improvement project,just to mention a few. It is, therefore, gratifying to be reassured that Japan is considering the resumption of the Yen loan which, I agree with His Excellency, would contribute immensely towards infrastructural development in the country.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may be aware, for the past two decades, Ghana has made tremendous strides in creating an enabling business environment and political stability to attract investors. It was, therefore, heart-warming that representatives of 20 Japanese companies visitedGhana in July to explore business opportunities. Currently, the Government of Ghana has embarked on a massive infrastructure development to open up the country to sustain growth and diversify its economy. The equivalent of Japan's Abenomics is already here in Ghana and it is hoped that the Japanese business community would take advantage of this policy of Government to invest in the country.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The exchange of official visits between Ghana and Japan would continue to play a significant role not only in deepening relations between the two countries but also to help facilitate the execution of TICAD projects and programmes in the country. To this end, it is hoped that the Governments of Ghana and Japan will be able to agree on the proposed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) which will give added confidence to Japanese investors in Ghana as well as actualize the intention for enhanced Japanese business engagement with Africa.

I would like to take this opportunity to give assurance that the peaceful political environment in Ghana would continue and the Government of Ghana will remain steadfast in her efforts towards socio-economic advancement of the country. The Government of Ghana will support any profitable engagement that will enhance the country's socio-economic development with benefits for foreign investors.
To conclude, permit me to also take this opportunity to congratulate the Government and people of Japan for successfully winning the bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics games as well as being the first side to reach Brazil 2014 after a 1-1 draw with Australia on June 4. We hope that the final match at the World Cup would be between the Black Stars of Ghana and the Samurais of Japan.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I now invite you all to raise your glasses and drink to a toast to the good health, prosperous and sterling leadership of His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana and to the advancement and success of our two countries.

Long live our homeland Ghana
Long live Japan
Long live Ghana-Japan relations.
Thank you for your attentio


Dennis Kweku Moore

Ambassador's Residence of Japan.

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