UPDATE: Jul 10, 2020
Thankful for Japan’s humanitarian assistance
—– As the first Ambassador to Japan, how do you see the relationship between Japan and the Republic of Congo?
It is a great honor to serve as the first ambassador to fulfill the important mission of developing bilateral relations in this large country. Japan has provided valuable economic support to our country in many fields. I would like to thank Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, JICA and other technical cooperation institutions for the multifaceted assistance that I have always received since I arrived in this beautiful country two years ago. Japan and the Republic of Congo established diplomatic relations in 1960, and our relations have friendly developed. In the political area, Japan-Congo Parliamentarian Friendship League was launched in 2018.The delegation of this amical parliamentarians led by Mr. Sakurada, a member of the House of representatives, visited Brazzaville to exchange views with Prime Minister Clément Muamba, Minister of Commerce et Apportionments, and President of the National Assembly. Moreover in August 2018, the Congolese delegation led by Mr. Gilbert Ondongo, Senior Minister, Minister of State for the Economy, Industry and Public Finances participated in the ministerial meeting of The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7). They met with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Taro Kono.
—– Would you talk about some of Economic cooperation from Japan?
Japanese Government’s support to the Republic of Congo is active in several areas including health and education. Japan is making a great contribution, especially in the humanitarian assistance. Japan regularly brings donations to the Congo World Food Program (WFP) to support school canteens. This food program improves the nutritional situation of the Congolese children and ensures food security. This donation also can be used to improve quality of drinking water in certain areas. Furthermore, the Embassy with Japanese competent authorities collaboration, intends to set up initiatives such as improving sanitary services. In 2018, Pointe-Noire small-scale fishing support center was constructed to improve the quality of marine products. In human resources development cooperation, many Congolese students were trained in Japan through “ ABE Initiative: African Business Education Initiative for Youth”.
—– What progress has been made in the areas of cooperation between the two countries since TICAD 7 last August?
The participation of Mr. Jean-Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Congolese Abroad, to the TICAD7 has contributed to increase mutual understanding between the two countries. In TICAD7, ” Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) Phase 2″ has been newly established. The goal of the phase 2 is to double the rice production in each country by 2030. As one of the management organizations of CARD, JICA supports rice production in the Republic of Congo, which is a CARD member country. I am grateful that Japan’s cooperation has contributed to the development of Congo through the TICAD process. In November 2019,Mr.Tetsuro Yano, President of the Association of African Economy and Development, visited Brazzaville to talk with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Commerce to deepen the relation between the two countries.
—- What do you expect for our relationship once we can get through the threat of the new coronavirus (COVID -19)?
The new coronavirus attacks all people. It will be a long time before the COVID -19 end, and their difficulties may be prolonged. However, as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control and economic activities reopen, the Embassy definitely hopes that the contacts will continue with the relevant Japanese authorities to move forward together deepening the bilateral ties. Considering that all journeys begin with the first step, I remain confident that bilateral ties will experience a certain development with the contribution of the two parties.
(Interview by Shu Tamaru, FEC Counsellor)