Shaping The Future

Noboru Sekiguchi, Consul-General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates
Noboru Sekiguchi, Consul-General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates

On the 50 years of diplomatic bilateral ties, Noboru Sekiguchi, Consul-General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, focuses on enhanced cooperation with the UAE on business, culture and travel



by

Rhonita Patnaik

Published: Fri 9 Dec 2022, 9:00 AM

As the Consul-General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, I have been thinking of celebrating the exchanges between Japan and the UAE over the past 50 years, and at the same time, to lay a foundation for the next 50 years of our bilateral exchanges this year, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. In terms of exchanges over the next 50 years, I believe that it is important for both Japan and the UAE to introduce each other the elements that will shape the future of each nation, consolidate mutual understanding about the partner country including its culture, and facilitate people-to-people exchanges, especially among the young generation of the Japanese and the Emiratis. From this point of view, it was a testament of the high potential for future bilateral exchanges between the two countries that the Japan Pavilion received very positive feedbacks from the Emiratis and the sushi restaurant adjacent to the Pavilion became hugely popular among the Emiratis when Japan participated in Expo 2020 Dubai. As another good example of introducing the elements that will shape the future of Japan to the UAE, the Consulate-General of Japan in Dubai held a webinar titled ‘From Expo 2020 Dubai to Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan: Architecture and Design Perspective’ by Sou Fujimoto, Expo Site Design Producer for the Expo 2025 Osaka-Kansai. Now, I am looking to develop frameworks that could enhance the further exchanges between the youth of Japan and the UAE with a focus on the cooperation between the Japanese and the UAE startup companies as well as exchange programmes and internships for young researchers and students.

Japan Day Celebrations

On December 11, the Japan Festival in Dubai will be organised by the Japanese Association in Dubai, which aims to promote the friendship between Japan and the UAE, under the support of the Consulate-General of Japan in Dubai. This festival will feature food stalls by Japanese restaurants in Dubai, and performances on the main stage, including Japanese drums and Nanchu Soranbushi (Japanese regional dance). Furthermore, all the guests will be invited to dance Bon Odori (traditional dance) around the wooden tower installed at the centre of the venue.

This festival is an event that reproduces the Japanese traditional festivals here in Dubai, as they are held in every corner of Japan and are one of the sources of joy for the Japanese nationals. I have confidence that this festival will serve as an occasion, not to mention, for the Japanese residents but also for the UAE nationals, as well as foreign expatriates to experience the atmosphere of Japan and have fun. I hope that this festival promotes general understanding about Japan and provides an opportunity for the guests to consider visiting Japan in the future.

Assissting Business Diaspora

The Consulate-General of Japan provides basic information on Dubai, including information of the economic and security situations, at the initial stage where Japanese companies consider their expansion to the market in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. In the meanwhile, we collect and accumulate information regarding the business environment in Dubai and the Northern Emirates on daily basis. This information includes the business-related local rules and regulations, as well as the characteristics of the freezones in various sectors. As Japanese companies are seeking to join the UAE market with strong commitment, we provide the detailed information about the business environment here which is accumulated at our end and introduce relevant organisations such as the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Dubai to them so that they can obtain useful information in due course.

It is worth noting that the support by the Consulate-General is also extended to the companies which have already been operating in the UAE, for example, by providing opportunities for them to introduce their business activities at the receptions held by my office. In addition to that, we also coordinate with the Japanese local municipalities and other relevant authorities to introduce local specialties for the purpose of supporting the overseas deployment of Japanese cuisine and of expanding the exports of Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products.

Travel Bonus For Emiratis

In addition to the relaxing of the border control measures against the Covid-19 by Japan, the full visa waiver for the UAE nationals has been implemented from November 1, 2022. Since the launch of this waiver, we have witnessed a surge of interest in visit to Japan as a popular tourist destination among the UAE nationals at first hand, by hearing a number of the Emiratis express their appreciation toward this measure taken by the Government of Japan.

Furthermore, the number of short-term visa applications from foreign nationals residing in Dubai has increased dramatically and it makes our consular section extremely busy. It is in our best interest that travels from and to Japan for tourism purposes, in addition to travels for business purposes which has been already on a recovery trend, will further rejuvenate the overall flow of the people between Japan and the UAE, and I am hoping that more travellers from the UAE visit Japan and experience Japan’s excellence.

— rhonita@khaleejtimes.com


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