Kigali, 25 March 2011

President Kagame has assured the people of Japan that the Rwanda people stand with them as they struggle to overcome the consequences of the earthquake and Tsunami disasters that befell their nation. The President passed on this message through the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Ambassador Kunio Hatanaka who called on him today at Urugwiro Village.

“I thank the people of Rwanda for their messages of sympathy and encouragement to us. We have received phone calls, letters and messages from different Rwandans expressing their sympathies for what has happened to us. We are also very appreciative of, and encouraged by, the President’s message of solidarity to the people of Japan”.

Ambassador Hatanaka also said it has been one year since the Japanese embassy was opened in Rwanda and that he took this opportunity to brief the President on the outline of projects supported by Japan in the country.

“I reported that there have been various Japanese delegations visiting Rwanda, including the Minister of Foreign affairs and a delegation from the house of counselors which is in charge of monitoring Japanese international assistance. After seeing the projects supported by Japan here they all went back satisfied. Despite the disaster that befell us, we signed a number of agreements on Tuesday with the Rwanda Foreign Affairs minister. This shows that Japan is willing to respect its commitments to Rwanda. We would like to continue to offer our support”.

The Japanese Embassy in Rwanda has been fully operational since January 1st 2010, under Ambassador Kunio Hatanaka, who was Japan’s first envoy in Rwanda.  Japan re-opened the Office of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2005 after its closure in 1993. Rwanda and Japan established an Annual Policy Dialogue—a bilateral framework in which the two countries meet annually to discuss their bilateral cooperation programs. A review meeting is being planned in the coming months.