Japanese ministers thank Kuwait for quake support, welcomes Amir''s visit

The Kuwaiti Embassy in Tokyo held a reception Tuesday evening on the occasion of Kuwait's 51st National Day, the 21st anniversary of Liberation Day and the sixth anniversary of H.H. the Amir's assumption of power

Three Japanese Cabinet ministers renewed gratitude to the support and solidarity shown by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the people of Kuwait towards quake-hit Japan during the past year and welcomed the upcoming visit of H.H. the Amir.
The remarks came as the Kuwaiti Embassy in Tokyo held a reception Tuesday evening on the occasion of Kuwait's 51st National Day, the 21st anniversary of Liberation Day and the sixth anniversary of H.H. the Amir's assumption of power, which brought together about 900 guests, including high-ranking officials, parliamentary figures, businessmen, academics and diplomats as well as representatives of the Japan-Kuwait Society.
In his speech, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano expressed gratefulness for generous support to Japan after a massive earthquake and tsunami last March, especially the 5 million barrels of crude oil donation to support its post-quake reconstruction. "Last October, I attended a ceremony to mark the arrival of the first shipment of Kuwaiti oil aid, which was a very memorable event. I once again extend sincere thanks to H.H. the Amir, the Kuwaiti government and people for their sense of solidarity and generosity. We will never forget your warm encouragements and sympathy," Edano said. Kuwait's contribution of 5 million barrels of crude oil was decided in April upon directives of H.H. the Amir in the wake of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing in the northeastern region.
The donation, equivalent to some USD 500 million, was the largest contribution by any countries to Japan in the wake of the March disasters.
While showing satisfaction with the development in bilateral relations between the two nations ever since they first forged diplomatic ties 51 years ago, Edano said H.H. the Amir's visit to Japan on March 20 will further promote Kuwait-Japan friendship. "We sincerely welcome his visit," the minister affirmed, "Kuwait has been providing us with stable crude oil supply for decades. In addition to energy cooperation, I hope the two countries will enhance partnership in such projects as transportation, water and infrastructure." For his part, Reconstruction Minister Tatsuo Hirano said, "The people in the disaster-stricken areas deeply appreciate heartfelt support and friendship provided by the Kuwaiti people," reaffirming Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Cabinet's determination towards its earliest recovery.
"Japan will certainly bounce back from this disaster," stressed Hirano, who was born in one of the hardest-hit areas. According to Hirano, money to the value of the free oil was provided to the quake victims through the Japan Red Cross.
Hirano also expressed gratitude to Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi for visiting the quake-hit region in April to offer foods, living necessities, school supplies and soccer balls, saying it gave the people great relief, encouragement and hope. The Kuwaiti Embassy also held a charity bazaar in May to raise funds for the disaster-affected areas, which saw a great success. Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hirofumi Hirano made similar remarks, noting that the aid from Kuwait has promoted a feeling of amity between the two peoples and boosted bilateral relations. In order to show their great hope and strong will to build a bright future for the country, a Wadaiko (Japanese drum) team of children, a chorus group and traditional dance performers were invited from the disaster-hit areas, receiving a big round of applause from the guests.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Al-Otaibi said in his speech that the upcoming state visit to Japan by H.H. the Amir will mark the highlight of the bilateral relations between Kuwait and Japan.
"This historical visit is upon the generous invitation by His Majesty the Emperor to commemorate the friendly relations that bind Kuwait and Japan, and as an appreciation for the support which the government and the people of the State of Kuwait have offered to Japan soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake," he said.
"The earthquake has left deep sorrow in the hearts of the Japanese as well as in the hearts of every Kuwaiti, but everyone was totally confident that the Japanese people are strong enough to rise again from this calamity," Al-Otaibi said. Last year marked the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Kuwait and Japan, but many of the events were canceled due to the tragedy.
The reception was also attended by Embassy's Deputy Head of Mission Mohammad Al-Mutairi, First Secretary Saad Al-Mehaini and Third Secretary Abdulaziz Al-Dalah.
The embassy also held an exhibition displaying Kuwaiti heritage and culture and distributed the latest issue of Japan-Kuwait Society's newsletter s to guests.