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Embassy's Highlights 2007

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School Visit - Caravan of Japanese cultural mission visits local schools in Riyadh

Mrs. Anna Nakamura, spouse of Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom visited 5 local schools with female staff and wives of staff from the Embassy of Japan to introduce Japanese culture to the pupils during autumn and winter 2007. This program, which is called “School Visit”, is one of the cultural activities of the embassy and is mainly implemented based on requests from the schools in Riyadh, where the Embassy donates 5 Japanese illustrated books translated into Arabic. On the following occasions, Japanese pupils from the Japanese school in Riyadh joined the program and that further deepened relationship between schools of Japan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi pupils expressed they have enjoyed this inter-action, learning several aspects of Japanese culture. Mrs. Nakamura wished that each of the attendants would remember today’s event and would play a great role in bridging between the two friendly countries for the development of mutual understanding at a grass root level.

The details of the program are as follows;

Kindergarten of the King Faisal Schools (24 October, 2007)

When Mr. Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan visited officially the Kingdom last April, Mrs. Abe made a courtesy call on the kindergarten of King Faisal School and presented Japanese traditional toys as a memorial of her visit, delivered by Embassy of Japan on her behalf.

On the visit, 16 pupils of the Japanese school were taught how to play with the Japanese traditional toys. In return the pupils introduced Saudi traditional games. They enjoyed playing and exchanging traditions.

a picture with the Saudi pupils and the Japanese pupils
a picture with the Saudi pupils and the Japanese pupils

Elementary School for Girls of the Najd National Schools (19 November, 2007)

The caravan of Japanese culture had several workshops to introduce Japanese culture below after we showed a visual material that gave a comprehensive information about Japan and its culture to about 50 pupils.

  1. Japanese Language Lesson; greeting as Hello and Good-bye, how to count numbers, how to write their own names in Japanese
  2. How to use Japanese chopsticks and play the game using it
  3. “Origami”, Japanese Traditional Paper Craft
  4. Explanation of Difference between Kimono & Yukata and Demonstration of try on them

At the same time, Japanese girl pupils were invited to join based on request from the Najd Schools and taught Saudi pupils how to use Japanese chopsticks and make its traditional paper crafts as a young goodwill envoy with Japanese ladies. In return, the Saudi pupils gifted the Japanese pupils hand-made crafts painted with Japanese images.

A student wearing Yukata and the Japanese girls pupils
A student wearing Yukata and the Japanese girls pupils

Elementary School for Girls of the Kingdom Schools (8th December, 2007)

The caravan of Japanese culture performed almost the same program that they did at the Najd Schools for about 40 pupils explaining and assisting how to handle with each workshop carefully. The pupils enjoyed among the others a game of chopsticks. They were excited and very good at using them, even though it was for the first time to do for almost all pupils. A few days later of the program, the pupils sent a frame decorated package of “thanks messages” below and gifts contained with Saudi traditional commodities in return.

The frame decorated with “thanks message” from the pupils
The frame decorated with “thanks message” from the pupils

Elementary School for Girls of the Riyadh Schools (11th December, 2007)

The caravan of Japanese culture performed the following workshops in front of around 130 pupils at the hall.

  1. A Film Show that gives a comprehensive information about Japan and its culture
  2. Japanese Language Lesson; greeting as Hello and Good-bye, how to count numbers, so on
  3. “Origami”, Japanese Traditional Paper Craft
  4. Explanation of Difference between Kimono & Yukata and How to Wear

The pupils and teachers were impressed by the beauty of Kimono and they enjoyed wearing Kimono & Yukata. They took pictures as a memorial.

After the program, Mrs. Ambassador and other ladies met Dr. Musharraf, the Director General and exchanged views regarding each culture under warm atmosphere in a Saudi traditional way, Arabic coffee and dates. Boy pupils of the schools presented paintings that they drew to the Embassy.

paintings presented from the boys pupils paintings presented from the boys pupils
paintings presented from the boys pupils paintings presented from the boys pupils

Kindergarten of the Model Educational Schools (29th December, 2007)

The caravan of Japanese culture was invited to the school festival of the kindergarten and introduced to about 150 pupils the Japanese paper craft “Origami” in a booth for Japan decorated with several kinds of Japanese commodities borrowed from the Embassy. At the same time, we showed a short movie that collected several aspects of Japan and its culture for the teachers and staff providing information and impression about Japan.

Mrs. Nakamura met with Mrs. El-Omair, a principal of the kindergarten and donated 5 Japanese illustrated books translated into Arabic.

a scene of teaching “Origami” the pupils with head-bands designed the Japanese flag
a scene of teaching “Origami” the pupils with head-bands designed the Japanese flag

The 3rd Japanese Speech Contest on Wednesday, December 12 Jointly organized by the Embassy of Japan and King Saud University

The 3rd Japanese Language Speech Contest co-organized by the Embassy of Japan and the Faculty of Languages and Translation of the King Saud University, was held on 12 Dec at the main hall of the University.

Japanese Ambassador Mr. Shigeru NAKAMURA delivered opening remarks, where he expressed his happiness holding such an event and commended the relations between Japan and Kingdom, mentioning that such strong relations are symbolized in the visits of Crown Prince H.R.H. Sultan to Japan in April 2006 and the visit of former Prime Minister Mr. Abe to the Kingdom in April 2007 that would drive bilateral relations to the stage of multi-layered and strategic partnership. He also added he is very honored to speak in Japanese even being in the Kingdom of Saud Arabia.

Eight Saudi contestants from the students of the Japanese Language unit were divided into two groups, the intermediate level and the advanced level, and the winner and the runner-up were chosen from each group according to not only language skills but also composition of the context and originality. They delivered speeches in Japanese, in the presence of the Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom Mr. Nakamura, and Japanese Counselor Mr. Okubo, diplomats, and prominent figures of Japanese society in Riyadh represented by Mr. Tomiyama, General Manager of Riyadh Office of Mitsubishi Corp., Mr. Murai, Principal of Japanese School, Mr. Tomizawa, Resident Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr. Tomioka, Manager of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Dr. Faris, the associate professor of Japanese language at KSU, who formed the panel of judges to evaluate the performance of Saudi students in delivering speeches.

The students choose their own topics for their speeches ranging from the Japanese culture to traditional festival in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, some of them who had experience to study Japanese language in Japan on scholarships from the Japanese Government and the Japan Foundation spoke about their study and life in Japan.

The result of the contest is as follows;

Group 1 (intermediate level)
the winner : Mr. Maher Al-Otaibi, “My Experience in Japan”
the runner-up : Mr. Tariq al-Hakami, “My First Trip to Japan”

Group 2 (advanced level)
the winner : Mr. Yazeed N. Al-Dulaim, “Feasts in Saudi Arabia - the Present and the Past”
the runner-up : Mr. Turki M. Al-Eidi, “The Half of the Circle”

The judges’ panel and other audience were impressed by the level and the language skills of the Saudi students. “The Saudi students’ pronunciation of the Japanese language is perfect and the way they speak is nearly like native speakers”, audiences commented, adding that they highly appreciate the efforts by the university and looking forward to seeing the achievements of graduates in the near future.
All contestants received the big applause from the audience for their excellent performance.

Note: The Japanese language unit of the faculty of languages and translation at the King Saud University has about 30 students and one Egyptian assistant professor Dr. Faris and three Japanese native lecturers including a lecturer dispatched from the Japan Foundation. The graduates from the unit play important roles expanding the cultural and commercial basis between the two friendly countries, Japan and Saudi Arabia. For example, graduates are working at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tokyo, Abdul Latif Jameel Co. and other Japanese private sectors in the Kingdom.

H.E. Ambassador Mr. Nakamura with the contestants and judges
H.E. Ambassador Mr. Nakamura with the contestants and judges

The Third Japanese Language Speech Contest at the King Saud University in Riyadh

The Embassy of Japan and the King Saud University will jointly organize “The 3rd Japanese Language Speech Contest” at the auditorium of the University (Please see below for more details). The Contest will be a precious opportunity for the Japanese-learning students to show the result of their daily practices and efforts in front of audience. The Japanese community members in Riyadh are welcome and cordially invited to attend the event and touch the growing enthusiasm of the Japanese-learners in Saudi Arabia. We are sorry to inform you that female audience will not be allowed for admission to the contest because the auditorium is located on the male campus of King Saud University.

Date: Wednesday, 12th. December 2007
Time: 10:00 am (Please enter the auditorium before 9:50 am)
Venue: Main Auditorium, Building 7

※ For further information and inquiry, please do not hesitate to contact the Embassy Culturual Section ext 238.


Ambassador of Japan to Host Ramadan Iftar for Saudi Ex-students of Japan

The Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Mr. Shigeru NAKAMURA, invited on Sunday 7 Oct., 9 Saudi ex-students, who had completed their study in Japan. Among invitees, were two Saudi students from King Saud University, who have just returned back from Japan after the completion of their one year study-course, organized by Japanese Ministry of Education's scholarship program.

The Iftar invitation, is the second to be initiated by H.E. the Ambassador in two years that began last year.

Ambassador received the guests at his residence, where they have exchanged friendly talks, and called for widening and strengthening of Japanese Saudi relations in all fields.

In his speech, during the Iftar, H.E. Ambassador Nakamura first expressed his best wishes on Ramadan and his heartfelt happiness for meeting the Saudi friends, who studied in Japan. He also congratulated the two students of King Saud University on the successful completion of their study in Japan. Ambassador went on saying “this Iftar is one of the steps forward to strengthen relations, deepen understanding and expand cooperation between the two friendly countries.” He further added “one of the remarkable outcomes and mutual understanding between Japan and Saudi Arabia is symbolized by the visit of Crown Prince Sultan to Japan in April 2006, and the visit of former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe to the Kingdom last April.”

Finally, Ambassador Nakamura concluded his speech saying “I hope that the Saudi ex-students would play an important role to further promote the bilateral relations between both friendly countries Japan and Saudi Arabia.”

Speech delivered by Ambassador of Japan Saudi ex-students enjoying Japanese foods
Speech delivered by Ambassador of Japan Saudi ex-students enjoying Japanese foods

The Graduation Ceremony for Mechatronics Training Course at the Development and Training Center

The Development and Training Center(D&T Center) in Riyadh held its graduation ceremony for Mechatronics Training Course on September 4th, 2007. Mr. Hiroshi Oka, Minitster of the Embassy of Japan, attended the ceremony together with Dr. Hamad Al-Ogla, Vice Governor for Education and Training of General Organization for Technical and Vocational Training. Dr. Hamad expressed Saudi’s gratitude to the technical cooperation extended by the Japanese Government in his speech and presented the certificate of appreciation to Mr. Ryuichi Tomizawa, Resident Representative of JICA office in Riyadh.

A JICA expert has been sent to the electric department of the D&T center since 2004 and developed training materials and transferred technology to the Saudi Counterparts. The cooperation covers implementation of other curriculums such as PLC(Programmable Logic Controller), Automatic Control, Driving Technology and Power Electronics.


Donation of a book authored by Japan’s Empress to the Ministry of Culture and Information

On July 11 2007, 25 copies of illustrative book authored by Her Majesty Empress of Japan Michiko were donated to the Ministry of Culture and Information. Mr. Hiroshi Oka, Deputy Chief of the Japanese Mission in Riyadh, visited Dr. Abudulaziz Al-Sebail, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information at his office and handed the copies over to him.

The book titled “My first mountain climbing” is based on Her Majesty’s personal memory during her Crown Princess days when she climbed a mountain by herself with her royal family. In her story, Her Majesty Michiko features a girl who overcomes her uneasiness about the first climbing ever in her life and gets to the top of a mountain with joy. The book is translated into many languages including Arabic since it was published in 1991. Last year, the Japan Foundation donated the Arabic versions to all the elementary schools in Musana’ Prefecture in Iraq as the Foundation promotes its cultural project for donating children’s books to Iraq.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information will distribute the copies to the local institutions including the King Fahd National Library. The Embassy of Japan in Riyadh highly appreciates the cooperation of the Ministry in providing local people with an opportunity to know more about Japan.


“My First Mountain Climbing” by Her Majesty Empress of Japan Michiko Minister Oka (left) and Deputy Minister Al-Sebail (right)
“My First Mountain Climbing” by Her Majesty Empress of Japan Michiko Minister Oka (left) and Deputy Minister Al-Sebail (right)

Reception in Commemoration of the 53rd Anniversary of the Establishment of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces

On June 11th, Mr. and Mrs. Ambassador Nakamura hosted a reception in commemoration of the 53rd anniversary of the establishment of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces at their residence.

More than 300 people attended the reception including Saudi high ranking officials, ambassadors and military officers as well. .

It was held for first time after Ministry of Defense, competent authority of Self-Defense Forces changed the status from agency to ministry and was a success.
Mr. & Mrs. Ambassador and Mr. Takuma at receiving line Guests enjoying Japanese foods at garden
Mr. & Mrs. Ambassador and Mr. Takuma at receiving line Guests enjoying Japanese foods at garden

The fourth Skill Contest of the Saudi-Japanese Automobile High Institute(SJAHI) in Jeddah on 3rd of June

The Saudi-Japanese Automobile High Institute(SJAHI) in Jeddah held its fourth Skill Contest on the 3rd of June, 2007. Selected 75 students out of 181 in the second grade were grouped into 5 teams and competed each other in terms of team work, finesse, accuracy of judgment and technology. The contest was attended by H.E.Toshimitsu Ishigure,Consul-General of Japan. SJAHI was established in September 2002 by combined efforts of public and private sectors in both countries. The institute has three batches of graduates now and has contributed to the transfer of technology from Japan to the Kingdom of the Saudi Arabia.


Mr. Akira Amari, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited the Kingdom from April 30 to May 2, 2007.

Mr. Amari visited the Kingdom just after the visit by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and discussed specific measures to strengthen the bilateral relation. During his stay, Minister Amari had an audience with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, HRH Crown Prince Sultan, and HRH Riyadh Governor Salman in addition to a number of meetings with ministers including HE Eng. Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

On May 1st, Minister Amari attended the “9th Japan-Saudi Arabia Joint Committee” to exchange opinions on the enhancement of economic relation between the two countries. On May 2nd, with HE Minister Al-Naimi, Minister Amari co-chaired the “2nd Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting,” which was joined by a number of representatives from energy-consuming and producing countries in Asia, and discussed various issues including the energy outlook.

Minister Amari having an audience with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah(photo:SPA) One scene from the 9th Japan-Saudi Arabia Joint Committee One scene from the 2nd Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting
Minister Amari having an audience with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah(photo:SPA) One scene from the 9th Japan-Saudi Arabia Joint Committee One scene from the 2nd Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting

Mr. Shinzo ABE, Prime Minister of Japan, visited the Kingdom from April 28 to 29, 2007.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia from April 28th to April 29th. He held a summit meeting with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and attended a luncheon hosted by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud as well as a dinner hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The Prime Minister also attended the “Japan-Saudi Business Forum” and met with the representatives of the Japanese community in Riyadh.

The Prime Minister received an exceptionally cordial hospitality from the Saudi Government in this visit. This warm reception, coupled with a “Look East” policy by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, indicates that the Saudi Government attaches great importance to the relationship with Japan.

Moreover, it is extremely worthwhile that the Japanese and Saudi Governments announced the “Joint Statement” aiming at the development of the strategic and multi-layered relationship between both countries and the establishment of a new framework for the industrial cooperation, while appreciating the relationship between Japan and Saudi Arabia that had achieved a remarkable development and reconfirming the importance of the stable supply of oil. This clearly shows the opening of the “Japan-Middle East New Era”, which the Prime Minister is striving for.

Furthermore, the Saudi Government highly appreciated that the Japanese business mission visited Saudi Arabia accompanying the Prime Minister, which is the largest scale ever in the history of the bilateral business and trade relationship. This indicates the mounting expectation of the Japanese business community towards further strengthening the investment in the Saudi markets. The “Japan-Saudi Business Forum” was held on a grand scale, in which more than 300 people from both countries participated including Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Hashem bin Abdullah Yamani.

*Joint Statement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Japan (click here)

Prime Minister Abe Attends a Welcome Ceremony together with Crown Prince Sultan (photo:Prime Minister's Office) Prime Minister Abe is Awarded an Order by King Abdullah (photo:Prime Minister's Office) Prime Minister Abe Talks with King Abdullah (photo:Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Abe Attends a Welcome Ceremony together with Crown Prince Sultan
(photo:Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Abe is Awarded an Order by King Abdullah
(photo:Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Abe Talks with King Abdullah
(photo:Prime Minister's Office)

Exhibition of Japanese Handcrafts (March, 2007)

On March 25th, the opening ceremony of the “Japanese Handcrafts Exhibition”, which was one of the activities sponsored by the “Japan Foundation” and was touring all over the world, took place at the National Museum of the King Abdulaziz Historical Center with the generous support of the Ministry of Culture and Information. Japanese Ambassador Mr. Shigeru Nakamura delivered opening speech and Dr. Iyad Madani, Minister of Culture and Information, joined Ambassador Nakamura in tape-cutting for opening the exhibition.

The exhibition was held from March 26th until April 4th, featuring 92 items of traditional handcrafts including ceramics, textiles, metal works, lacquer wares, wood and bamboo crafts, glassware, papers, stationary goods and others, most of which have been used over generations and developed in the Japanese daily lives until present days.

The event provided local audience with an opportunity in correcting the stereo-typed images on Japan mainly related to “automobile” and “hi-tech” as they obtained a new image through looking at the traditional aspects of Japanese lives. Truly, the audience was impressed with the Japanese traditional culture.

As a part of the exhibition, the Embassy organized a workshop for invited pupils  from a local elementary school which featured how to use the Japanese traditional materials and goods, as well as a brief learning course for Origami, Japanese paper craft, for the visitors. These special programs ended with great success.

Tape cut by Ambassador Nakamura and Dr. Madani, Minister of Culture and Information at opening ceremony Ambassador explains show items to Dr. Madani In front of show items
Tape cut by Ambassador Nakamura and Dr. Madani, Minister of Culture and Information at opening ceremony Ambassador explains show items to Dr. Madani In front of show items

Donation Ceremony of Knedo (Japanese traditional fencing) Equipments (March, 2007)

On March 7th, a ceremony was held at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence for donating the “Ken-do” (Japanese traditional fencing) equipment to the two different “Ken-do” clubs in the Kingdom, one in Dammam and another in Riyadh. Japanese Ambassador Mr. Nakamura, on behalf of the “All Japan Ken-do Federation”, handed the equipment to the representatives of the local “Ken-do” clubs.

During the ceremony, several club members demonstrated their “Ken-do” skills as a part of their daily trainings.

Among those attended the ceremony, there were representatives from the General Presidency of Youth Welfare, and Supreme Commission for Tourism as well as Japanese martial arts fans and sports lovers. They enjoyed the event..
Demonstration by Saudi members of Kendo clubs H.E. Ambassador Mr. Nakamura (3rd from left, front), Defense Attache Capt. Takuma (1st from left, back) and members of Kendo clubs in KSA
Demonstration by Saudi members of Kendo clubs H.E. Ambassador Mr. Nakamura (3rd from left, front), Defense Attache Capt. Takuma (1st from left, back) and members of Kendo clubs in KSA