Greeting by Ambassador NAKAYAMA Yasunori on the occasion of the Birthday of H.M. the Emperor Naruhito

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On February 23rd, His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito of Japan celebrated his 61st birthday. His Majesty ascended the throne on May 1st of 2019 and this year marks the third year of the Reiwa Era.
Every year, the Embassy of Japan in Greece honours His Majesty’s birthday by hosting the National Day reception, attended by representatives of the Greek government and the leaders from the Greek political, economic and art & cultural fields as well as members of the Japanese organisations and associations in Greece. Regrettably, this year, due to current epidemic of a new coronavirus disease, we had to cancel the National Day reception.
I arrived at Athens in late November 2020 and I presented my credentials to the President of the Hellenic Republic Ms. Sakellaropoulou on January 12th 2021. It is a great honour for me to be appointed as Ambassador of Japan, a country with long history and proud tradition, to Greece, the birthplace of western civilisation
democracy and the Olympic Games.
Over the past 12 months, as a result of the pandemic crisis, humanity faces unprecedented difficulties and challenges, resulted in drastic and painful changes in everyday life including wearing face masks, social-distancing and experiencing various other restrictions. Under these circumstances, both Greece and Japan may be said to have been relatively successful in containing the spread of the contagion by taking a series of measures with cooperation from their peoples. Although we should not be too optimistic on the future prospect, free movement and exchanges between our two nations are expected to return to normal with a progress in the vaccination process in the respective country.
While Japan and Greece have traditionally maintained close ties in shipping and shipbuilding sectors, a wide range of new partnership possibilities seem to be emerging in such fields as technology, climate change and disaster prevention,  art & culture and sports. Furthermore, in the economic sector, the Greek government has high expectations of further strengthening the economic relations with Japan, especially incoming Japanese investments in Greece. It is my duty to facilitate efforts by people on the both sides to work out as many win-win projects as possible.
There will be great opportunities for our bilateral exchanges in the forthcoming years. The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are scheduled to be held in the summer 2021, with the sacred flame lit at Ancient Olympia in March last year. Then, 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the rescue of the Greek refugees by the Japanese merchant ship Tokei Maru during the great fire of Smyrna. In the same year, the international shipping exhibition “Poseidonia 2022”, the largest shipping industry exhibition in the world, is planned to be held in Athens with the participation of many Japanese shipping companies. Greece will get ready to participate in Osaka/Kansai International Exhibition 2025 – as the first European country that confirmed participation.
As Ambassador of Japan to Greece during such an important period, I will do my utmost to further promote the bilateral relations between Japan and Greece and I would highly appreciate your understanding and continued support to that end.
I sincerely hope that this difficult situation of the pandemic will end and the peaceful days will return soon. Until then, please stay safe.
Ambassador of Japan to Greece