It's been a hectic year for Malaysia's ambassador to Japan

Last update: 22/11/2019

[Exclusive] From Azman Ujang

TOKYO, Nov 22 (Bernama) --  It has been quite a hectic stint for Datuk Kennedy Jawan in the almost one year that he has been here as Malaysia's Ambassador to Japan.

Last month,  the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah visited Japan on the invitation of the Japanese government to attend the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace.

Kennedy told Bernama that the King also granted an audience to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, reflecting the close and friendly bilateral relations between the two countries.

Just a week after the visit, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong came to Japan again for a private visit where he officiated the Malaysia Fair 2019, the second to be held here which this time around saw a much higher number of participants from both Malaysia and Japan.

Under the theme "All About Malaysia", the fair featured the country's unique cultures and cuisines and it was a resounding success with the presence of some 50,000 visitors during the three-day event that also was a prelude promotion to Visit Malaysia Year 2020.

"Many outreach programmes have also been undertaken with a view to promoting VMY 2020," he said.

Kennedy said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made three trips to Japan since May where among others, he held bilateral talks with Abe and attended the International Conference of the Future of Asia, the 24th in the series organised by Nikkei Inc.

Among the issues discussed between the two leaders was the setting up of a branch campus of Tsukuba University in Malaysia, the first foreign campus for a Japanese university which is expected to take off next year.

Dr Mahathir also met with Captains of top industries such as Mitsubishi Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, Sankyu, Roland, Mitsui, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and NEC.

The prime minister was in Fukuoka in August where he delivered a talk at the Japan Future Leaders' School and later received an Honorary Doctorate from the International University of Japan.

September saw Dr Mahathir in Kyoto where he was conferred another Honorary Doctorate, this time from Doshisha University.

Dr Makio Miyagawa, who returned to Japan recently after over five years as Japan's Ambassador to Malaysia, told Bernama here that Dr Mahathir had visited Japan six times since the Pakatan Harapan government came to power in May last year.

Kennedy said the prime minister also met with the President of Towa Corporation, a semiconductor company which plans to expand its Malaysian operations with an investment worth RM100 million.

During the past year, nine Malaysian Cabinet ministers and five Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers also made official visits to Japan.

Among trade missions to Japan from Malaysia included a seminar on Halal Business Opportunities held earlier this month to facilitate Malaysian companies in establishing contacts with potential overseas partners.

"The Export Acceleration Mission (EA) is one of the programmes that has been identified to spur and promote  the export of Malaysian halal products and services to Japan under the ' Digital Trade Halal Value Chain for Tokyo Olympics 2020 initiative," he added.

Kennedy also has had a series of engagements with Japanese corporations aimed at boosting trade and investments in Malaysia where they are already among the largest investors.

" I'm thankful for the advice and support from my headquarters especially from Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and my Secretary-General Datuk Seri Muhammad Sharul Akram Yaakob," said Kennedy.