The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Kagame Invited to Tokyo-Africa Forum

President Paul Kagame has been invited by the Japanese government to attend the forthcoming Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) slated for June 1, 2013.

The event, scheduled to take place in Yokohama, Japan, will focus on African led solutions and ownership towards its development by putting emphasis on "accelerating growth" while focusing on poverty reduction.

The outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Kunio Hatanaka, extended his government's invitation to the Head of State during his courtesy call to bid him farewell after concluding a three year tour of duty as the Japanese envoy to Rwanda.

In an event held yesterday at Village Urugwiro, Hatanaka who is the first Japanese Ambassador with a permanent residence in Rwanda briefed the President what has been achieved during his term of office.

The Japanese resident embassy was officially launched in January 2010, before that business was handled by the Japanese Embassy in Nairobi.

Speaking to journalists shortly after bidding farewell to the Head of State, Hatanaka said: "I sincerely thank the Government of Rwanda for assisting us in establishing our embassy here and our cooperation has been excellent; there has been reciprocal assistance between our two countries."

"We also appreciate the transparency and efficiency in the way this country uses aid and we look forward to further cooperation."

The outgoing Japanese envoy stated that during his tenure, Rwanda-Japan cooperation improved greatly. "We have been getting a lot of support from Rwanda on the international scene."

While meeting the President, Hatanaka said that he extended his government's wish to see Kagame attending the TICAD V meeting.

"His Excellency Paul Kagame is an important person when it comes to the advocacy of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, so his presence at the meeting is very important to us," said Hatanaka.

Credits

Japan currently supports Rwanda in areas of human resource development, infrastructural and education development, cultural exchange, poverty eradication, resettlement of refugees among others.

Last year, in March, when the Asian economic giant was hit by a devastating tsunami, Rwanda was among the first countries to extend heartfelt condolences to Japan.

According to Mary Baine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the outgoing Japanese envoy is credited for playing significant role in the construction of the Rusumo One Stop Border Post (OSBP).

The OSBP consists of three phases; include the construction of Rusumo international bridge, building of a new two kilometre road between the border facilities and putting up the actual OSBP facilities. The project is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Baine further said that while meeting the Head of State, the Japanese diplomat pledged to continue being an ambassador of Rwanda wherever he goes.

Last week's cabinet meeting approved Kazuya Ogawa as the new Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda.

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