By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The new Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, has pledged his country’s commitment help Nigeria curb COVID-19 challenges.
The Envoy, who arrived in Nigeria on May 15, 2021, stated that the Embassy would cooperate with the Federal Government in the health sector, including the fight against COVID-19.
Kazuyoshi remarked that last year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Japan-Nigeria diplomatic relations; despite many great accomplishments to date, he expressed his confidence that the relations between the two countries can only get stronger and would expand into new fields.
The Ambassador said, “Nigerians have also been highly affected by restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and face various inconveniences. Foremost, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and to extend my heartfelt sympathies to all the affected people. One of my priorities would therefore be to address the various challenges in the medical and health sectors, including the response to COVID-19, through the cooperation between Japan and Nigeria.’’
Recalling that a grant aid project, funded by the Government of Japan, was launched in April 2021 to increase oxygen supply and expand vaccine storage capacity through an international organization, the Ambassador add that Japan will continue to support the efforts of the Nigerian people to strengthen the medical and health sectors.
As a member of the Japanese Government that promotes digital transformation as a pillar of its growth strategy, Kazuyoshi said he would be focusing on Nigeria, which he observed has the potential to grow dramatically through leapfrog-type development by actively adopting the latest technology.
“I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan as an IT expert. Therefore, I am interested in strengthening diplomatic activities utilizing IT, in pursuing economic growth and in solving social problems through technological innovations. Under these circumstances, DX (digital transformation) can facilitate people-to-people ties by bridging psychological distances. It promotes virtual exchanges and deepens mutual understanding not only in political and business fields, but also in fields such as sports, culture, medical care and education,’’ he explained.