New Year Message from Ambassador Ogawa

                                                                                                                                                                                                               16 January, 2017
Happy New Year!

Many events were held for the marking of 20th anniversary of Japan-Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) diplomatic relations last year. A series of cultural events, starting with the 20th anniversary concert of Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra in March, which was followed by Japanese contemporary architecture photo exhibition and Japanese traditional music concerts, reached their peak with the concert of Japanese drum team “Ondekoza” in September. The first Japanese business mission to BiH visited Sarajevo in October. Just after this mission, Mr. Nobuo Kishi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, paid an official visit to BiH and attended a handover ceremony of the Project for Rehabilitation of Sports Center “Kantarevac” in Mostar. Mr. Ivica Osim, the former Japanese national football team coach, was decorated by the government of Japan in November. The declaration on the exchange of experience and cooperation between Sarajevo and Hiroshima was signed this January. The mutual understanding between the citizens of Japan and BiH improved through various ways, and I noticed good reaction.

On the basis of these results, I would like to further improve bilateral relations between Japan and BiH in 2017. Four years have passed since the Japanese language course was launched at the University of Sarajevo. The Japanese language proficiency examination was held for the second time, as in the previous year. Though there is no Japanese direct investment in BiH yet, I hope that Japanese companies which have interested in development potentials of BiH will come to invest. The Embassy is prepared to support them fully.

22 years have passed since the war in BiH ended. Tourism development, which was put aside before, is advancing steadily. “Stecaks – medieval tombstones” in BiH was registered in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites last year, in addition to other two, namely “Old bridge area and the old city of Mostar” and “Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad”. I hope that you will visit BiH to enjoy wonderful natural beauty which is so-called “the last unexplored region in Europe” and to meet with local people who are very friendly toward Japan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kazuya Ogawa