The Japanese ambassador to Egypt, Masaki Noke, said that his country will enjoy closer relations than ever with Egypt, in coincidence with Egypt’s presidency of the African Union (AU) over 2019.
“Japan will host the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in August,” mentioned the ambassador during his speech at a Japanese tea ceremony held at his residence on Saturday, in the presence of Egypt’s Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker and the Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Al-Anani.
Noteworthy, the Japanese tea ceremony is called sadō or chadō, which is a Japanese tradition steeped in history. It is a ceremonial way of preparing and drinking green tea typically in a traditional tearoom with tatami floor. Beyond just serving and receiving tea, one of the main purposes of the tea ceremony is for the guests to enjoy the hospitality of the host in an atmosphere distinct from the fast pace of everyday life.
Japan will boost its joint projects in the Egyptian market such as the Cairo Opera project, over the next period, added the ambassador, noting that 2019 will be a historical year for Japan, as it will have a new Emperor in May, and it will host the G20 meetings in June.
In 2018, Egypt and Japan celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Cairo Opera House which was established with Japanese assistance in 1998.
Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, headed to Tokyo on 4 October 2018 on a bilateral visit to discuss joint cooperation and regional issues of common interest and to take part in the ministerial meeting of the TICAD, scheduled on October 6 to 7 October 2018, in order to promote cooperation between Japan and Africa, and to support the continent’s comprehensive development efforts, according to a past ministerial statement in October.
In November 2018, Noke informed Daily News Egypt that there are many developmental projects undertaken and under discussion with Egypt adding, “Infrastructure is key, and that is why we finance the Borg El-Arab International Airport Project. We are now implementing the project’s expansions and introducing top-level environmental technology in solar energy.”
Japan’s International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) total funds to Egypt are estimated at about $8.5bn, distributed to about $1.2bn grants aid, $6.5bn for 42 projects with Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan, and $800m for technical cooperation, according to a previous DNE interview with JICA’s Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura, published on 26 August 2018.