Ambassador Maeda's Remarks at the Reception to celebrate the New Year 2023


Happy New Year to everyone.

On January 1st Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, said in his New Year’s Reflection that our world is currently approaching a historic fork in the road. This year Japan will be the chair of G7, and serve as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for two years starting from this month. The year 2023 also marks the 50th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation, and the Commemorative Summit meeting will be held in Japan at the end of the year. It seems to me that the relationship between Japan and Brunei is also entering into an important period for further enhancement in many areas.

In December last year, the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the LNG shipment from Brunei to Japan was held in Tokyo. Dato Seri Paduka Awg Hj Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, Deputy Minister at the Department of Energy, Prime Minister’s Office, attended the ceremony as the guest of honour. Prior to the ceremony, Dato Matsatejo met with Mr. NISHIMURA Yasutoshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. Both Ministers highly appreciated the half a century history of Japan-Brunei energy cooperation, and confirmed that the two countries will continue to collaborate closely in the energy sector. They also discussed about cooperation for energy transition and economic diversification in Brunei, having its carbon neutrality goal in mind.

A new “National Security Strategy” of Japan was adopted in the Cabinet last December. The Japan-Brunei defence cooperation has also been very cordial and smooth in the past few years. Last November, a vessel of the Royal Brunei Navy visited Japan for the first time to join the 2022 International Fleet Review. Ships of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force also visited Brunei last year. This year we look forward to a high-level visit from the Bruneian Defence Ministry to Japan. Since peace and prosperity of both Japan and Brunei significantly rely on a free and open maritime order, I believe that there will be plenty of room for both countries to cooperate further in this area.

As mentioned earlier, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation. Meanwhile, the travels between Japan and Brunei by businesspersons and tourists have been gradually increasing, since the relaxation of the border control in Japan and the resumption and increase of the Royal Brunei Airlines' direct flights to Japan up to four services per week. It was also very encouraging for us to witness strong and enduring interests of Bruneian people in Japan during the Japanese Culture Festival last December, which was held in person for the first time in two years since the outbreak of COVID-19, and was visited by approximately 11,000 people in two days. As the people to people exchanges widen and deepen, we very much hope that this year will be the beginning of another 50 years of friendship and cooperation between Japan and Brunei.

The year 2022 was truly a year of turbulence, with series of events occurring one after another, including Russian aggression against Ukraine, soaring prices resulting from the energy crisis, the rapid weakening of the value of the yen and so on. As we enter the new year, I would like to wish all Bruneians and Japanese residents in Brunei a happy new year and sincerely hope that this year will bring all of you many successes and good health. The Embassy of Japan continues to make every effort to strengthen the Japan-Brunei relationship, joining hands with its all friends in Brunei.
January, 2023
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan
to Brunei Darussalam