2024 National Day Reception to Celebrate 64th Birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan


On 6 March, the 2024 National Day Reception of Japan was held at the Ambassador's Residence, to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. As 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Zambia, this year's reception was well attended by people from various sectors, including the government, the diplomatic corps and international organisations based in Lusaka, as well as the business, education and sports communities.
The reception began with the national anthems of both countries. “Kimigayo" was sung by Ms HIRAYAMA Chinatsu, a Japanese singer in Lusaka, and the Zambian national anthem by a group of music students from Evelyn Hone College, led by JICA volunteer Ms MURAKAMI Akiko.
In his speech, Ambassador TAKEUCHI Kazuyuki emphasised his wish to take the good Zambian-Japanese relations to a higher level in this commemorative year. He began by noting that the various reforms of the Zambian government led by President Hichilema were gradually bearing fruit, and hoped that further efforts would be made to realise the free, democratic and prosperous society that Zambians aspire to. He also noted Zambia's commitment to the values of global peace and stability and expressed the desire to strengthen cooperation in addressing global challenges together. On the economic front, he highlighted Japan's recent cooperation in key areas such as STEM education and cholera control, and noted the growing interest in the Zambian economy in Japan, particularly in the mining sector, stimulated by a visit to Zambia by the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry last year. On culture and youth, he commended Zambia's first participation in the Cabinet Office's Ship for World Youth programme and expressed his willingness to strengthen cultural exchanges, especially among young people, through the promotion of judo, karate and pop culture. He added that he hoped to use the momentum of the 60th anniversary as a basis for the next 60 years of cooperation, starting with TICAD 9 and the Osaka World Expo in 2025.
In response, Hon. Mike Elton Mposha, Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, delivered a speech on behalf of the Government of Zambia. The Minister said Japan was one of Zambia's most important partners and appreciated Japan's cooperation in areas such as agriculture, education and health. He said Japan's commitment to supporting least developed countries like Zambia, as expressed through the TICAD process, was clear and he had high expectations for TICAD 9 next year. He also pledged Zambia's commitment to strengthening democracy, good governance and the rule of law. He also highlighted Zambia's potential for trade and investment in many key sectors and hoped that more Japanese companies would invest in joint ventures with local companies for a win-win economic relationship between the two countries.
Fourteen Japanese companies from Zambia and South Africa exhibited at the venue, introducing participants to automobiles and a wide range of high-tech products. Counters were also set up to serve Japanese food, including tempura and sushi, as well as Japanese sake, which attracted the interest of many participants.
To read Ambassador Takeuchi's speech at the event, click here.