The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi has reveled that Japan will further strengthen relations with Nigeria across all sectors following the transition to a new administration in 2023 and beyond.
Kazuyoshi disclosed this at a cocktail event in Abuja to commemorate the 63rd birthday of the Emperor of Japan, Hironomiya Naruhito.
Kazuyoshi said: Japan aspires to be a development partner with Africa, with a focus on investing in people and the country’s economy for quality growth.
“This coming May, Nigeria will have a new President. I expect that the friendship and cooperative relationship between Japan and Nigeria will further deepen under Nigeria’s new leadership.
“Last August, the Japanese government, along with African and international partners co-hosted the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8).
“Japan aspires to be a partner growing together with Africa, focusing on people as individuals, and more specifically, `investing in people’ and `quality growth’.
“Japan will promote its initiatives with approaches quintessentially Japanese.
“Over the next three years, Japan is going to invest 30 billion dollars from public and private financial contributions in Africa, including Nigeria.
“In the economic area, we held the 2nd Japan Nigeria Business Facilitation Council just before TICAD 8, I and my co-chair, Ms Saratu Umar, CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) agreed to strengthen our cooperation to improve Nigeria’s business environment and to solve business challenges between our two countries.
“The aim is to increase Japanese investments in Nigeria. One of our achievements was the participation of 20 companies from Japan at the Lagos International Trade Fair in November last year.
“This year is the year of the Rabbit. I hope that Japan and Nigeria, and everyone here will, during this year, hop, stomp, and jump like a rabbit towards significant achievements”.
The Ambassador further disclosed that Japan had been actively promoting start-ups and digital transformation in Nigeria targeting the younger generation, entrepreneurs, and talented youth.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba maintained that Nigeria and Japan have had vibrant diplomatic relations since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
The Minister further assured the ambassador that the excellent bilateral relationship between both countries will not change but improve further with the coming of a new administration.
“The trade balance between our countries is very robust with Japanese cars everywhere in Nigeria and with us purchasing Nigeria’s crude oil.
“Additionally, Japan and Nigeria have looked forward to developing further trade ties by creating organisations such as the Japan-Nigeria Business Facilitation Council, which is aimed at increasing the volume of trade between our two countries.
“Since ascending the throne in 2019, the Emperor of Japan has led Japan with wisdom, grace, and compassion, exemplifying the very best of the Japanese spirit.
“Through our shared commitment to peace, prosperity, and progress, we can continue to strengthen the bond between Japan and Nigeria and create a brighter and more fruitful future.
“Nigeria is in the middle of political succession while witnessing some changes. We assure you that the ties between Nigeria and Japan will not change.
“We will continue to work together to strengthen our bilateral relationship with respect for each other,” Agba said.