The Arab Japan Day 2017 celebrations, which took place at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on 4 April 2017, were enhanced by the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was the guest of honour at the closing ceremony. This annual event brought together more than 400 people, including the Governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Ms. Yuriko Koike, with many ambassadors and diplomats, business people and academics.

In his speech, Prime Minister Abe highlighted the lasting relationship between Japan and the Arab countries. He took the opportunity to recall the political meetings he had with several African leaders during the last TICAD VI held in Kenya in August 2016. He mentioned his meeting with the President of Djibouti, H. E. Mr Ismael Omar Guelleh, whose country welcomes the presence of the only Japanese Self-Defense Forces base abroad.

During the day, a seminar on “Sustainable Energy and Water Security” featured several needs and issues that could develop into business opportunities between Japan and the Arab countries. Several speakers highlighted the use of public-private partnerships as a very innovative cooperation formula to solve several global environmental issues.

This annual event is a unique opportunity to showcase the authenticity of the cultural diversity of many Arab countries, whether through music, food or crafts. For members of the “Ambassadors and Heads of Mission in Japan”, this networking event is a way to build friendship with Japanese people. For Djibouti Ambassador H.E. Ahmed Araita Ali, “it is important to promote cultural relations as one way to increase understanding and trust between people and to facilitate business opportunities with the Japanese companies”.