Ambassador Hiroshi InomataDear Everyone,
I would first like to wish you all a happy new year.
Time goes so fast, as this is already the third time I am celebrating the new year in the Netherlands. For this new year’s greeting, I would like to share my aspiration for this year with you, while looking back upon the year that has passed.
Looking at politics first, in the past year we have seen the third Rutte cabinet of 4 parties alliance manage to keep maintaining a stable administration with a small majority in both chambers backed by the growing economy. We will follow closely what effects the elections for the provincial states in March, and the European parliament and the first chamber in May will have on Dutch politics.
Dutch-Japanese economic relations are as tight as ever. With the Brexit happening right before us there is still some uncertainty moving forward, but with the backing of the Japan-EU EPA that was signed in July of last year, we would like to keep providing necessary support so that Dutch-Japanese trade and investment relations remain stable and that the Japanese economic endeavors within the Netherlands keep progressing smoothly.
Once again, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Japanese businesses in the Netherlands, in cooperation with Dutch organizations and businesses, have had great success organizing the Cherry Blossom Festival in spring and the Japan Festival in autumn of last year. Many Dutch citizens were able to learn about Japanese culture by experiencing it for themselves. Since there’s only one year left until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, I would like to continue working hard towards making more people interested in Japan and thereby more and more people visit our country.
The threat of terrorism in the Netherlands, although not noticeable, remains unpredictable. To us as an embassy, maintaining the safety of Japanese citizens in the Netherlands is our top priority. We will continue to provide you with updates on the safety in the Netherlands and do our utmost to take action to protect your safety.
My work is not limited to strengthening the ties between Japan and the Netherlands, but also stretches to multilateral affairs. Last year in June, Professor Yuji Iwasawa of Tokyo University was elected as Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations and wish for his success as a Judge. The International Criminal Court (ICC) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. Japan will continue to actively engage with the Court.
Last year there were many vigorous discussions at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and Great Britain and the subsequent investigations by the technical secretariat, as well as the strengthening of the analytical facilities. As a representative of my country, I wish to keep making an international effort towards disarmament with the goal of complete prohibition of chemical weapons.
We, all members of our embassy, will continue to work hard to perform our duties, while keeping a close eye on the future developments between Japan and the Netherlands. If you have any views, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact our embassy.
I hereby extend my greetings to you, while praying for your happiness and prosperity in the upcoming year.