Greeting Message from Ambassador Ishii

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Malo e lelei.
Warm greetings everyone. When I arrived in Tonga, I saw a deep blue ocean, a clear sky, colourful flowers in bloom everywhere and tall coconut trees swaying in the breeze. On Saturday the island bustles with busy market activities, then on Sunday, everything is quiet and peaceful. I know, I am already in love with this country.

It is my greatest pleasure to introduce myself. My name is Tetsuya Ishii and on the 14th of November, I presented my letter of credence to His Majesty King Tupou VI, and officially took up my tenure as the Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga. I am truly excited by the opportunity to be here and I am certain that with all of your cooperation, I will soon settle into the life and customs of the Friendly Islands.

Based on reports from my friends and colleagues, I have learned that there are remarkable bilateral relations between Tonga and Japan, such as the cordial relationship between the Royal Family and the Imperial Family, and bonds built upon our people to people exchanges through rugby, the study of Soroban and the Japanese language in Tonga, and our economic cooperation not only at the government level but also in the grass-root level. I myself wish to witness with my own eyes more of our joint efforts, whereby soon we shall see the completion of the new Wharf for Domestic Transportation. It shall open another opportunity for me to find another area to embark on a new cooperation, which I hope to become symbolic of our nations’ and peoples’ friendship.

Even though Tonga is a small island country with a population of just a little over 100,000 people, but it has many unique faces. It is the only remaining monarchy in the South Pacific. I was lucky to witness the people of Tonga eagerly enter the poll stations to vote on November 16th. Tonga is also a member state of the British Commonwealth with many devout Christians, and who can forget the home of the“Mate ma'a Tonga.” As I get to know Tonga more, I am greatly charmed and would like to deepen my understanding of how this “Kingdom of friendly people, which is the first country to see the sunrise every day,” operates daily, how its people live, and how their wishes for sustainable development can be realized.

The next few years will see many remarkable events for our two nations. In 2018, Japan will host the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8), and in 2019 the Rugby World Cup will kick off in Japan as well. The year 2020 commemorates the 50th anniversary of Tonga and Japan’s established diplomatic relations, which will coincide with the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. I am determined that we will find the way to effectively deepen our cooperation and bilateral relations in the dynamic international flow.

I wish you all good health, and let’s work together for a lasting friendship based on mutual respect and understanding.
Tu'a 'ofa atu.

Tetsuya Ishii 
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 
of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga