May 14, 2012: Ambassador Dr. Sayed M. Amin Fatimie and Mr. Basir Hamdard, Second Secretary and Consul at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Tokyo, attended the completion ceremony of the Japanese-Language Program for Foreign-Service Officers at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Zakeriy Soroush (pictured below, most left) of the Afghan Government took part in this 8-month language and culture training which has been running since 1981 and has been operating at the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute in Osaka. Mr. Hamdard participated from 2008 to 2009. In total, since 2004, 5 Afghans have now graduated from the program.
Ambassador Fatimie had the opportunity to meet with a number of key participants in the ceremony, including the guest of honor, H.E. Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ryuji Yamane (pictured above), whom the Ambassador welcomed back from his recent visit to Afghanistan to discuss on the benevolent and highly appreciated initiative for Japan to in July co-host an international conference on Afghanistan. Ambassador Fatimie in this context offered deepest and renewed gratitude for Japan’s continuing generous and impact-producing multi-sector contributions to Afghanistan’s peace and development, in particular calling attention to the nation’s efforts in enhancing the capacity of young diplomats. The Ambassador stated that these efforts would further increase the warm and mutually-beneficial relations of the two nations. Ambassador Fatimie expressed the same sentiment to Director Masahiro Nakata of the Ministry’s Exchange Programs Division in the Public Diplomacy Department.
Also meeting with representatives of the Japan Foundation, Executive Vice President Tomoyuki Sakurai (pictured below, center left) and Administrative Vice President Hiroshi Kawamura, Ambassador Fatimie hailed this initiative and the Japan Foundation’s other activities as link-creating and friendship-enhancing tools in the strong Afghan-Japanese relationship. All expressed a desire to continue to work together.
To Mr. Soroush, Ambassador Fatimie expressed congratulations on the completion of this important program, and encouraged him to use his new skills, knowledge, and insights to be a human bridge between the historical allies of Afghanistan and Japan.
Ambassador Fatimie further had the pleasure to meet many old friends and new ones, including H.E. Ambassador François Oubida of Burkina Faso, H.E. Ambassador João Miguel Vehekeni of Angola, H.E. Ambassador Dr. William G.M. Brandful of Ghana, H.E. Ambassador Leonardo Carrión of Ecuador, and Vice Chairman Yukio Kitazume of Japan Aircraft Development Corporation.