Greetings from Ambassador


       Welcome to the website of the Embassy of Japan. As everyone is aware that Noah`s Ark of antiquity was made of Lebanese Cedars, the symbol of the Republic of Lebanon, the history of Lebanon has  been contributing to the evolution of the World Civilization. The Lebanese Mountains, the peaks of which exceed 3000 meters high, is not only blessed with rich natural resources, but also extended a shelter to the religious and ethnical minority peoples under the various empires.


     In Lebanon, therefore, the very unique society has been developed and formed with 18 officially recognized ethnic and religious groups and communities, which are up to now coexisting.      Under such historical backgrounds, the democratic system based upon the   multi-ethnic and religious communities was introduced to Lebanon when it became independent, and since then Lebanon has enjoyed the robust economic growth thrust by the vigorous market economy. Lebanon has led all countries of the Middle East in each field of commerce, foreign trade, information, culture, and tourism.


     As for the Japan-Lebanon bilateral relationship, we established the legation in Beirut in 1954 immediately after Japan restored its position of the international community in post-war era, and placed Lebanon as the strategic country for the Japanese foreign trade and commercial activities in the Middle East. More than 1,500 Japanese residents in Lebanon were counted in 1970`s. Beirut began to function as centre of the Japanese economic activities in the region.


     While Civil War began in 1975 and ended in 1990, and then the military clashes sporadically happened, Japanese companies have gradually evacuated from Lebanon which was diminishing the role it used to play. Even now we cannot see the bilateral economic relations fully restored.  


     However, I believe that there are huge potentials for expanding the relations between Japan and Lebanon toward the future. Fundamentally Japan has the strategic importance to Lebanon.


     First, we consider it of vital importance that the international community would keep supporting political stability of Lebanon because we have observed that the past unstable conditions of Lebanon had posed a shadow to the stability of the whole Middle East region.


     Secondly, it is said that there are more than ten million Lebanese migrants overseas, and they form their communities in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and North America which have much influential over their countries.  Japanese, firms or individuals, have a lot of contacts with Lebanese people over different parts of the world. This must be sustained by the bilateral friendly relations.


     Thirdly, I believe it beneficial for Japan that Japanese businesses could be more engaged in socio-economic activities in affiliation with Lebanese firms with professional expertise especially in the Gulf and the Middle East.


     The fourth I want to emphasize is that I wish more Japanese could know about Lebanon, the country with abundant history and culture on a hand, and more Lebanese could get acquainted with the Japanese ideology and history and culture beyond subculture, such as animation, manga, Japanese foods on the other hand. I am confident that both people who can accept different culture based on plural value system can become spiritually richer through active exchange of people and culture


       Japan has been devoted to the development assistance projects related to the alleviation of poverty and Basic Human Needs although annual per capita income of Lebanon has already attained the level as high as 9000 US dollars, which is almost not categorized as `developing` country. Japan still intends to be engaged in these development projects on the ground that stability of Lebanon is essentially relevant to stability of the Middle East where huge amount of oil and gas is produced and considerable part of it is exported to the Japanese market. In practice, we have small- scale grant aid scheme supporting to the areas affected by Civil War and the poor countryside which had not been economically developed. Also we are carrying out technical cooperation programs related to human capacity building.  


     There is no doubt that such development assistance gives benefit to the strengthening of the bilateral cooperative relations and mutual understanding between Japan and Lebanon. On the other hand, Japanese appreciate deeply condolences and donations expressed by the Government of Lebanon and the various civic organizations and groups. These facts make Japanese renew our determination toward further strengthening the existing friendly relations.  


     Finally allow me to refer to my past personal contact to Lebanon. I was living as a student in Lebanon for one year and a few months from the year of 1977, and therefore Lebanon is a place where my memory about my young age is preserved. It is in Faraiya that I challenged skiing for the first time. I have never experienced in driving my own car until I came to Lebanon. It means that Lebanon is, so to speak, my second homeland and therefore I feel extremely delightful if I will dedicate to strengthening the existing friendly relations between the two countries. 




August 2012

Seiichi Otsuka

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Lebanon