Farewell message from Ambassador Numata

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Fare thee well everyone! Since May 2015 I have been serving in the Kingdom of Tonga as the Ambassador of Japan. Now over two and a half years, I am called to return to Tokyo, and I take this opportunity to say goodbye and to wish you all the best in all of your future endeavors.

During my tenure, there were many significant interchanges by Tongan and Japanese dignitaries, including the historic visit to Tonga of Their Imperial Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan, for the Royal Coronation Ceremony of Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u Tuku'aho in July 2015, which I was very fortunate to witness right after my arrival. In May of this year, Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, the Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and a prominent figure in actively promoting global awareness for tsunami disaster prevention, led a delegation composed of 24 members of Japan’s Parliament on an official visit to the Kingdom.

The Economic Cooperation between Tonga and Japan continues to expand with the dispatch of JICA volunteers to help the people of Tonga as well as, the JICA training programs that gives Tongan people the opportunity to study in Japan. I am also delighted to say that we expect the construction work for the upgrading of the Wharf for Domestic Transportation to finish by the end of this year, and that there will be a succeeding project to look forward to, known as “The Project for Installation of Wind Power Generation System,” which will start shortly.

I can say without a doubt that some of the happiest memories that I am taking back to Japan are the smiling faces of people in many different communities around the Friendly Islands, from the Northern-most Island of Niuatoputapu to the Southernmost Island of 'Eua. I was able to see them through Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects, which greatly encourages education, the upgrading of village water supply systems, the provisions of necessary equipment to medical centers, and much more.

The Ministry of Education and Training of Tonga and our Embassy have annually co-hosted the National Soroban Competition and the Japanese Speech Contest and with each passing year we have added more features to the Cultural exchange between Tonga and Japan such as through the Japan Professional Photographers Society’s photo exhibition under the Japan Foundation’s Support Program, which highlighted “Japan’s coastline and its people” and the Wadaiko Rindo’s tour to Tonga. This year we hosted another exhibition with the theme “Japan’s Handcrafted Form: traditions and techniques,” which received a grand audience but perhaps the most popular was the Washoku (Japanese food) lectures and demonstrations, which we showcased to promote Japanese food culture in Tonga and it was received with such excitement by the public and the media.

When I look back to my arrival in the Kingdom, it was my first time to hold office in the Pacific region and I was anxious. However, just as Tonga’s nickname portrays, the immense support of the “friendly people in the Friendly Islands,” and Japanese officials, our local staff and JICA staff helped me to successfully complete my term. To sum up my term, I have greatly enjoyed my time and I am ready to finish it with satisfaction. I can state with confidence that, even if it is only a small impact, I have contributed in my own distinctive way to strengthening the existing friendship between Tonga and Japan.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to you all.

“Mou Nofo ā, 'Ofa lahi atu.”

Yukio Numata
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga