Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the kind introduction.
My name is Nozomu Takaoka, the Consulate General of Japan joining you from Edinburgh.
It is a great honour for me to be kindly invited here tonight with my wife to celebrate the establishment of the Orkney Japan Association.
This is indeed an outstanding achievements made possible only by the accumulation of precious good will of so many people in and outside of this distillery.
Therefore, I would like to commend Ms. Ruta Noreika and Mrs. Yuka Johnston for attracting so many positive responses including those from distinguished leaders of Orkney, Councillor Harvey Johnston and Mr. Liam McArthur MSP, who kindly assumed the post of the Chair of the Orkney Japan Association. I would like to express my deep appreciation for your unwavering commitment and my sincere hope that you will continue to render your precious support to the Association.
I am also glad that we are joined by leading figures in renewable energy, hospitality, sports and the arts. I hope that you will remain to be good friends of Japan, too.
On a personal note, also I am happy to witness the establishment of the Orkney Japan Association because when we were stationed in Stockholm, Sweden ten years ago, I enjoyed good relations with Sweden-Japan Foundation and Sweden-Japan Society.
I find great similarities among Japan and Scotland and Sweden; sea-faring, Viking and Samurai tradition, being honest and modest, yet determined and hard working. Therefore, based upon my own experiences, I see a bright prospect for the successful future of OJA, Orkney Japan Association.
I see a bright prospect for OJA also because its establishment coincided with the year when Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup. We have already observed today how much excitement and friendship can be generated by events like Peedie Isles Rugby Festival.
As Nagasaki represented by Mr. Eto today is going to take a very good care of Scottish national team while athletes are camping in Nagasaki, I am sure that they will do well in the match.
In the next year of 2020, Japan is hosting another major sport event, Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic. Because both Rugby and Paralympics originated in UK, somebody told me the other day that the Olympics itself also originated in UK, the forthcoming two years will be ideal years to draw public attention to Japan-UK cultural events both in UK and Japan.
Therefore, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister May agreed to launch “the Japan Season of Culture 2019-20” and Japan Foundation in London is flexing its muscles to promote cultural exchanges between our two countries.
It is a very good sign that Mr Eiji Taguchi, the new Director General of the Japan Foundation in London came to Orkney to join us only a week after taking up his new position. I am sure that Orkney will loom large when he will be planning the Foundation’s activities during his tenure of office.
I look forward to the bright future of Orkney – Japan relations, and I’m sure you will all be instrumental in its continued success.
Once again, congratulations.
Address from Consul General Takaoka: Orkney Japanese Association reception
April 12, 2019