New Japanese ambassador to Barbados Teruhiko Shinada says he is eager to present Japanese culture to the citizens of Barbados.
During a courtesy call on Barbados TODAY this morning, he also said he looked forward to greater cooperation in the area of sports, as Tokyo prepares to host the 2020 Olympic games.
Shinada, who has already held discussions with Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Stephen Lashley and representatives of the Barbados Olympic Committee on the upcoming games, said he was also very focused on promoting cultural exchange.
“By cultural I mean to present Japanese culture to the citizens of Barbados because while Barbados and Japan have very good relations, due to the geographical distance, your citizens do not know very well about Japan.
“Very few people from Barbados visited Japan and vice versa, so I think it is very important to introduce the true picture of Japan through cultural activities, that includes art, traditional habits, also sports. It’s very important and it should be followed by exchange of people, students,” he said.
Tokyo, which already had consulates in Trinidad and Trinidad, formally opened its embassy in Bridgetown last year.
Ambassador Shinada said based on its own experiences, Japan was in a good position to assist the region in tackling issues such as climate change, the environment and disaster management.
“As you know the climate change issue is very important not only globally but also for Caribbean islands. And of course environment protection, and also disaster management in terms of hurricanes and earthquakes.
“Japan is a country which has been suffering very frequently [from] natural disasters. We have developed many ways to overcome [such disasters], so I think Japan has a lot to offer to CARICOM countries,” he said, while pointing to a US $1M disaster management programme which was signed last year.
During the courtesy visit, the Japanese envoy also shared some of his experiences since arriving in Bridgetown last October.
“I’m still new here but I want to say that I am enjoying [it] very much, people are very friendly, very good food, the climate is very good for swimming,” said Shinada who has made the time to sample the local cuisine and enjoy Barbados’ attractions.
“I’m kind of a gourmet, so I tried the local menu like flying fish cutter. I have experienced for the first time, green bananas,” he said, adding that he also sampled cou cou and flying fish, which is the national dish.
The envoy is also pursuing his passion for sailing.