Kyoto State Guest House

Kyoto, 23 April 2014

Governor Yamada,

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Thank you for your kind welcoming remarks.

It is indeed an honour to receive such a warm welcome to your uniquely beautiful city.

I believe that Kyoto embodies so much of what makes Japan a great and prosperous nation. It is a city proud of its spectacular heritage and traditions, while at the same time open to embrace innovation and technology as it looks to the future.

The same can be said for the relationship between Japan and Qatar. Based initially on the solid foundations of trade, energy and business, we have steadily built a flourishing friendship over the last decades, based on mutual respect and trust.

Our partnership can be symbolised by the Qatari-Japanese Friendship Fund. The Fund was established by His Highness the Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in the wake of the March 2011 devastating earthquake and tsunami as an expression of our deep empathy.

Today, Qatar is pleased that this Fund has supported thousands of victims across the most affected areas through a range of sustainable projects in education, healthcare and fisheries. We hope that its impact will continue to help many more in their journeys to recovery.

When Prime Minister Abe visited Qatar in 2013, we cemented our alliance, as both countries vowed to deepen our cooperation across a broad range of areas, to include infrastructure, education, research, medical technologies and people-to-people exchanges.

Japan has much to offer the world. From a globally renowned education system to unparalleled research and technology capabilities.

Qatar is also fast expanding its capacities in research and development. We investing 2.8% of our government revenues in R&D, working to implement a robust national research strategy, building state-of-the-art research infrastructure and attracting top international researchers and scientists.

I am confident that the discussions the Qatar Foundation has held this week with Japanese institutes such as the Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application right here in Kyoto, will launch the next phase in our relationship. A phase that will result in collaborations in a wide range of innovative research and technology fields that will be of tremendous benefit to both our countries.

Thank you – domo arigato gozaimasu.