Japan is pressing ahead with plans to open an embassy here by next February.
Word of this from the country’s new Ambassador to Barbados Mitsuhiko Okada during a recent courtesy call on acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Steve Blackett.
Okada, who will serve initially as Chargé d’Affaires of the new embassy, revealed that it would be formally opened in February 2016 .
He also expressed thanks to the Government of Barbados for support in getting the embassy operational.
Blackett pledged the continued assistance of the Government while outlining areas for possible cooperation, including culture and education.
In this regard, Ambassador Okada noted that in February 2016 a group of Japanese drummers would visit the island. He also pointed out that so far 26 Barbadians had participated in the Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme, which sees these persons teaching English in Japanese schools and he expressed the hope that this cooperation would continue.
Other areas discussed were renewable energy, disaster preparedness and climate change.
With regards to trade and investment, Ambassador Okada recommended that consideration be given to arranging a business/trade fair which would educate Japanese business people about products and investment opportunities which Barbados has to offer.
While acknowledging that the island was a great distance from Japan, the Ambassador said the Japanese were prolific travellers. He also pointed out that cruises were becoming increasingly popular with Japanese, while highlighting tourism as another area for cooperation.
Barbados and Japan established diplomatic relations on August 29, 1967. (BGIS)