Greeting from Ambassador Minami

2024/1/1

New Year’s Greeting 2024 from Ambassador Minami

Dear everyone,

Let me start by wishing you a happy New Year.

I arrived in the Netherlands last January as Ambassador, and this is my first New Year in the Netherlands. On the New Year’s greeting to you all, I would like to look back on last year and express my ambitions for this year.

Last year, in April, it finally became unnecessary to present a COVID-19 certificate for entering Japan, and a free exchange between the people of Japan and the Netherlands became possible again. On the other hand, the world situation has become increasingly chaotic due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has continued since the year before last, and the conflict between Israel and Hamas in October last year. I hope that this global turmoil will be brought to an end this year.

Regarding the Dutch politics, the opposition Boer Burger Beweging (BBB) won a landslide victory in the provincial elections in March last year, boosted by farmers and dissatisfaction with the current government, and became the top party in the Senate election in May, marking the beginning of a tectonic shift in the Dutch political scene.

On the topic of bilateral relations, the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders of Japan and the Netherlands in approximately five years and eight months took place at the G20 New Delhi Summit in September last year. There they strengthened mutual cooperation in, for example, the field of national security, and Japan received full support from Prime Minister Rutte for Japan’s position on the discharge of ALPS treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the sea. The talk was very fruitful.

With regard to economic relations, there are a number of challenges in the Netherlands, including high prices, housing shortages and the nitrogen problem, but I believe that the Dutch government’s policy of rapidly promoting greening, albeit painfully, will remain unchanged. We will keep a close eye on the policies of the new government and continue to strengthen and develop the economic relationship between Japan and the Netherlands in various fields, such as wind power, hydrogen, agriculture and food, and logistics.

As for the Japan Festival in Amstelveen, our booth offered tea and origami experiences using sustainable Japanese ingredients. In March this year, we are also planning to hold the 35th Japanese speech contest with the cooperation of Japanese residents and companies in the Netherlands. We intend to strengthen our cultural communication through our social media this year as well.

Meanwhile, with regard to the security situation, the Dutch government raised the terrorist threat level by one level in December last year amidst the chaotic Israeli-Palestinian situation, and there is a heightened sense of alertness to terrorism. In addition to terrorism, there have also been a number of violent incidents that may harm you, as well as theft, cybercrime, and problems associated with large-scale demonstrations, so you should continue to pay attention to your personal safety. The safety of Japanese residents in the Netherlands is a highest priority for the Embassy of Japan and we will continue to work to ensure their safety by providing timely and appropriate security information via consular mail.

The Netherlands has international organisations such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and Japan intends to continue its contribution to international peace and security and the rule of law through these international organisations.

Last year was my first year in the Netherlands and it was a fruitful year for me because I attended many events, met many people and gained a lot of knowledge. It was also very useful to have experiences and encounters that are only possible due to the long history of the relationship between Japan and the Netherlands. In the future, with the cooperation and understanding of Japanese residents in the Netherlands, and keeping an eye on the various developments surrounding Japan and the Netherlands, we will continue to strive to fulfil our responsibilities as the Embassy, together with our staff, to further deepen and develop the relationship between Japan and the Netherlands.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.
 
Ambassador MINAMI Hiroshi

Greeting

Hello everyone,

My name is MINAMI Hiroshi, and I am the successor of Ambassador Horinouchi from January 23rd onwards. 

As all of you know, the Netherlands and Japan have had exchanges with each other for over 400 years. Continuing to build upon this foundation, our relationship has been further strengthened in recent years through the very close ties between the Dutch Royal House and the Japanese Imperial House, through the bilateral ties between our governments, which are cooperating on many international issues, and through active exchanges in business, sports and cultural sectors. I would like to express my respect and gratitude to everyone who has worked to strengthen the bilateral relations with Japan so far. Aside from these bilateral relations with Japan, the city of The Hague hosts the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, and is, so to speak, the capital of international justice. In addition, as home to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Netherlands occupies a unique position in the international community.

Up until now, I have been stationed three times in Western Europe; twice in the United Kingdom and once in Geneva. I feel that the Netherlands has a culture and climate quite similar to that of the United Kingdom, making me already feel somewhat familiar with the Netherlands, and I am very happy to work here. Moreover, as someone who has been involved in UN relations for a long time, seeing the world of international justice is a new experience. I am very much looking forward to working in the Netherlands the coming time. On the other hand, an important duty of an Ambassador is to ensure the protection and safety of all Japanese nationals residing abroad. Together with the Embassy staff, I will make every effort to ensure that all Japanese nationals living in the Netherlands or coming to the Netherlands can live and work safely.

On February 15th, I am scheduled to have an audience with His Majesty the King and present my credentials, after which my activities as an official Ambassador will begin. In the future I may meet you on several occasions, but for now, I would like to greet you here on our webpage.


MINAMI Hiroshi
Ambassador of Japan to the Netherlands