CULTURAL POTPOURRI| The Japanese Emperor’s 81st Birthday Celebration in Davao

ON THE occasion of the 81st birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan, a simple celebration was held at the SMX Convention Centre in SM Lanang Premiere last November 24, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.  Representatives from the various sectors of the Davao community,
headed by City Administrator/Atty. Melchor Quitain (representing Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte), attended the special event.  In attendance as well were Consul General and Madam Eco Hartono of Indonesia and Consul General and Madam Abdullah Zawawi Tahir of Malaysia.  The guests were warmly welcomed to the cocktail reception by Minister Tetsuro Amano (Deputy Chief of Mission), Japanese Consul Koichi Ibara and his wife, Madam Mariko Ibara.

The Reigning Emperor of the present Heisei era is Japan’s 125th emperor.  He was born on December 23, 1933, to His Royal Highness Emperor Hirohito and Empress Kojun of the Showa era.  HRH Emperor Akihito is the Imperial Couple’s fifth child and eldest son.  His Majesty married a beautiful and intelligent commoner, Michiko Shoda, on April 10, 1959.  They have three children namely Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince Akishino and Princess Nori. His Majesty Emperor Akihito formally acceded to the Imperial Throne on November 12, 1990, after His Majesty Emperor Hirohito passed away.

The simple program hosted by Winston Mallari started with the singing of both the Philippines’ and Japan’s national anthems by Joy Yosmine.  The welcome message of the Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister Tetsuro Amano, came next.  Minister Amano apologised for the absence of the Ambassador-designate of Japan to the Philippines, H.E. Ambassador Kasuhide Ishikawa, who was presenting his credentials to President Benigno Cojuanco Aquino, III, at the scheduled date of the celebration in Davao City.

“With regards to the date of the reception in Davao for this year, we took into account the schedule of the religious and historical celebrations of the host city and as such, we were allowed to celebrate earlier. Japanese diplomatic missions in various parts of the world are allowed to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday on an earlier date.  December 23, the birthday of HRH Emperor Akihito, is recognized as the National Day in Japan.  As such, Japanese heads of diplomatic missions found all over the world are tasked with hosting a National Day reception,” explained Minister Amano.

Minister Amano, who has visited Davao three times this year, told the guests that he was impressed with the “outstanding economic development in Davao City;” and mentioned the contribution of Japan and the Japanese residents of Davao in the City’s admirable progress.

The Minister’s message also included the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement with the Bangsamoro which he believes is the “fruit of a long term Mindanao Peace Process.”  In addition, he reminded the guests that in the Philippine Development Forum which was held in Davao City last Nov. 5-6, 2014, with the attendance of Pres. Aquino, the “base of the development plan made by the Bangsamoro Development Agency” was rightfully discussed in tackling the future development of the Mindanao region.

“Japan is proud of the role it played in the peace process in Mindanao.  It started in 2002 when the Support Package for Peace and Stability in Mindanao was announced during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s meeting with then Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi.  The implementation of the projects through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development known as J-BIRD began in 2006.  J-BIRD projects now total over 6.6 billion pesos and include the construction of school buildings, water systems, post-harvest center, health center and hospital buildings and roads for the benefit of the people of Mindanao.  We were literally laying the foundation for peace in Mindanao which everybody was praying for and working hard for to attain,” Minister Amano reported as he added, “The bilateral relationship between Japan and the Philippines is excellent in both the economic and political sectors….Japan, through the Japanese policy of Proactive Peace Contributor in the region, is supporting the Philippines to resolve the dispute in the West Philippine Sea on the basis of the rule of law.”

In ending his message, Minister Amano requested everybody to raise his glass “for the continued good health and long life of His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan; and for the everlasting friendship between Japan and the Philippines.”  Kampai!  Mabuhay!

 

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Japan’s Emperor  Akihito and Empress Michiko

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Deputy Chief of Mission,Minister Tetsuro Amano welcomes the guests to the 81st birthday celebration of HRH Emperor Akihito in Davao

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City Administrator Melchor Quitain delivers Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s message

Minister Tetsuro Amano with Arch. Michael E. Dakudao, Judge Antonina Escovilla and the staff of Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai

Minister Tetsuro Amano with Arch. Michael E. Dakudao, Judge Antonina Escovilla and the staff of Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai

Minister Amano with Senor Barnett, Arch. & Mrs. Daniel Lim, John Gaisano, Atty. Leoncio Villa Abrille, Joe Custodio and madam Mariko Ibara 

Minister Amano with Senor Barnett, Arch. & Mrs. Daniel Lim, John Gaisano, Atty. Leoncio Villa Abrille, Joe Custodio and madam Mariko Ibara

Minister Amano with Malaysian Consul General Abdullah Zawawi Tahir

Minister Amano with Malaysian Consul General Abdullah Zawawi Tahir

Minister Amano with Indonesian Consul General & Madam Eco Hartono

Minister Amano with Indonesian Consul General & Madam Eco Hartono

Davaoenos attending the Japanese Emperor's 81st birthday celebration in SM Lanang

Davaoenos attending the Japanese Emperor’s 81st birthday celebration in SM Lanang

(L-R): City Administrator and Mrs. Melchor Quitain, Minister Tetsuro Amano, and Consul and Madame Koichi Ibara offer a toast to HRH Emperor Akihito’s long life and good health

(L-R): City Administrator and Mrs. Melchor Quitain, Minister Tetsuro Amano, and Consul and Madame Koichi Ibara offer a toast to HRH Emperor Akihito’s long life and good health

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