20 June 2013, Japanese Ambassador's speech at the special reception for the Pacific Partnership 2013 participants.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight to commemorate the Pacific Partnership 2013. Welcome to Tonga and, to those who are returning to Tonga, welcome back.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the long journey that all the members coming from overseas have had to make here. I returned to Tonga last week from Japan and, (even though I am still young), it is still a long and tough journey. Seeing their works and achievements, I am admiring the toughness that all the participants have shown during this exercise. I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all the participants for their accomplishments.
It is also my pleasure to eyewitness the first-ever visit of the Japan’s Self-Defense-Force team to the Kingdom of Tonga. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the cordial friendship, hospitality, and support extended to the Japanese team, from respective officials and staff, especially those of the Tonga Defense Services.
After this exercise, I am sure that they will choose Tonga as the destination for their next vacation. I can only hope that my Government will let them take a long vacation to make this long trip all the way to Tonga and back to Japan.
Tonga is well-known for its vulnerability to climate change risks and natural disasters. Even in the context of human security, one of the guiding principles of Japan’s international cooperation, such vulnerability is a serious threat to human survival in the country. A holistic and inclusive partnership among nations, institutions, and the civil society, supporting the very small group of talented and like-minded professionals, serving for the country, is much needed to address such huge threats.
The pacific partnership, organized by the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy, one of the closest friends of Japan, aims at improving the interoperability between governments, including the region's military forces and equivalents, and humanitarian organizations. Practice makes perfect. This exercise makes members/teams from different countries and different backgrounds work together as a team. Such experiences would help us to work effectively, especially in complex emergency situations. Taking this opportunity, I also appreciate the US’s efforts to lead and continue this kind of initiative of a multilateral exercise up to today.
Last but not least, I hope that each of the participants, teams, and countries will cultivate friendships in Tonga. That is the strong foundation of mutual trust and understanding among countries. It is said that one can rely on good faith; building such trust cannot be cultivated without continuing mutual exchanges and friendship. Japan is fortunate to have such Tomodachi (friends) across the world. It is my pleasure to reaffirm tonight that Japan is surely part of such exchanges and friendship.
* I would like to propose a toast.
To Your Majesty, the King, to your Majesty, the Queen, and all the participants of the Pacific Partnership 2013!
Issued by: Ministry of Information and Communication, Nuku'alofa Tonga, 2013.