“Kosovo Thanks Japan” Awards Ceremony and Speech by the President at the Japanese ParliamentTokyo, 23 October 2019 – The Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Tokyo jointly with the Japan-Kosovo Friendship League in the National Diet of Japan, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kosovo and Japan, in the premises of the Parliament of Japan organised an Awards and President’s Address Ceremony titled “Kosovo Thanks Japan - Towards a New Decade of Relations”.
The ceremony started by the opening remarks by Honourable Mr Ryu Shionoya, Chairman of the Japan-Kosovo Parliamentary Friendship League. After thanking the President and all attendees, especially members of both houses of the Japan’s bicameral National Diet, Mr Shionoya underlined the fields of cooperation and commitment for further deepening of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
His Excellency Mr Hashim Thaçi, the President of the Republic of Kosovo was invited to deliver the keynote address. “It is not said in vain that true friends are proven in difficult times”, stated President Thaçi, adding that today “Kosovo is a country with a consolidated political culture, with stability, mature democracy and young population”. President said that Kosovo is a partner of the international community and is beginning to give the world more than it receives “by providing the world with talents and skills in many fields, from technology to sports and art”. He also underlined that “Kosovo has the highest economic growth in Europe and is an attractive country for investments, with high security” and asked the Japanese people to assist Kosovo in attracting more investments in the future.
“I would like that, today, by showing gratitude to you, to jointly mark the entry into the second decade of our cooperation, where Kosovo is no longer seen as a country that needs assistance, but as a country with which a partnership is established, evolving towards a win-win relationship for both countries”, said President Thaçi. He concluded by saying that he is deeply convinced that in the coming decade, Kosovo will deepen its relations with Japan in politics, economics, security, culture and education.
On this occasion, the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has granted awards to Japanese dignitaries and senior officials who have contributed in Kosovo and for Kosovo. President Thaçi said he feels obliged, but also privileged, to express gratitude to those who did the right thing at the right time.
Ms Yuriko Koike, currently Governor of Tokyo, who has helped Kosovo while having had other official capacities, including helping to provide housing for hundreds of Kosovars returning after the war to their homes in the fall of 1999, has been awarded the Presidential medal “Saint Mother Teresa”.
The “Honorary Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo” medal has been awarded to Mr Ryu Shionoya, Chairman of the Japan-Kosovo Friendship League in the National Diet of Japan, for his contribution in promoting Kosovo in Japan.
The Honorary Consul-General of the Republic of Kosovo to Japan, at the same time Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Isao Iijima, was presented the “Honorary Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo” Award for promoting and affirming the interests of the Republic of Kosovo in Japan and beyond.
Ambassador Yoshifumi Okamura, former Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, who in 1999 served as Advisor to the SRSG within the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, best known in Kosovo as the Japanese Ambassador to the UN who promoted Kosovo’s wine and “onsen” in the UN Security Council, has been awarded the title “Dr. Ibrahim Rugova” for his contribution to peacebuilding and the development of democracy in Kosovo.
Former UNMIK Administrator in Skenderaj, Ken Inoue, has been awarded the Presidential Medal “Saint Mother Teresa” for his contribution in the field of humanity and peace in Kosovo, especially for his personal commitment, at that time, to the healing of the little girl Ms Besjana Musliu, who suffered severe burns to the head during the war. The same medal, with the same pretext, was awarded to the ADRA Agency and the Adventist Hospital in Tokyo.
The President of the Republic of Albania, Ilir Meta also attended at this ceremony and briefly greeted those present, congratulating Japan and Kosovo for this wonderful relationship, and calling for even greater Japanese presence in the Western Balkans region.
The event was attended by numerous Members of the Parliament, President Meta of Albania, distinguished figures from the Japanese society, friends of Kosovo and fellow compatriots.
Closing remarks were delivered by HE Mr Leon Malazogu, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to Japan. Ambassador Malazogu thanked the Japanese government as well as Members of the National Diet for their continuous support and trust shown for the new state of Kosovo. He expressed his privilege to be able to express Kosovo’s appreciation to those who stood with Kosovo during the most difficult times.