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Kosovo Appreciates Japan for its Aid and Assistance

Prishtina/Tokyo, 17 November 2020 – The third online edition on “Japan’s Assistance and Aid to Kosovo” part of “Getting to Know Better Japan and Kosovo through Sharing Experiences” project was held today. This activity was organised by the Kosovar-Japanese Friendship Association, and supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Japan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of the Republic of Kosovo. On this occasion, in the opening remarks, the Director and Founder of the Kosovar-Japanese Friendship Association Ms. Luljeta Arifi said that Kosovo is eternally grateful for the support offered by Japan since the most difficult times and such support continues with development programs and valuable projects through ADRA in the past, and continuously through JICA as well as the Embassy of Japan in Kosovo and other organisations. She referred to many projects financed by Japanese funds including the support for the RTK, Kosovo Philharmonic, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education. Ms. Arifi in this edition as well asked all participants to support Kosovo through investments from Japan in all fields of economy.

Form Tokyo, via a video message, the activity was greeted by Ms. Toshiko Abe, Member of the House of Representatives at the National Diet of Japan, as well as Former-Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also visited Kosovo during 2019. Ms. Abe wished Kosovo more progress, underlined the contribution of JICA and wished for further development of Kosovo-Japan relations.
Japan International Cooperation Association (JICA) was represented by Mr. Takeichi Jiro – Chief Representative of the JICA Balkan Office. He underlined the project through which JICA helped Kosovo in the past and now, and disclosed the plans for the future.

Mr. Ken Inoue – former Administrator of Skenderaj Municipality (under UNMIK during 1999-2000), also was connected from Tokyo. He spoke about recovery of Kosovo immediately after the war, how he was the first foreigner and Japanese to have lived in Skenderaj after the war, and shared his experience in Kosovo during that time. Also Ms. Fumi Onodera – Former National Director of YMAM and Officer at the Protestant Church in Kosovo shared with the participants her experience during her service in Kosovo helping the Kosovar people.

From Prishtina, Ms. Nezakete Hakaj – President of the JICA Alumni Association in Kosovo (JAAK) greeted those present and held a resume of her association. She underlined that JAAK has more than 100 members who all have received capacity building training in Japan, and on this occasion thanked the Japanese people and institutions. The other member of the Kosovar-Japanese Friendship Association, Ms. Besjana Musliu, also greeted the participants. She thanked the Japanese people for the support offered to her in the challenges she faced in life caused by the war. For this event a greeting message was also sent by Ms. Shoko Hashimoto – Former Program Director of ADRA, who described her support for Kosovo and especially for curing Ms. Musliu in Japan.

About her experience in Kosovo as well as the recent initiatives in Japan, spoke Ms. Yumi Yasuda – Former Official of UNMIK as well as ODA Advisor at the Kosovo Ministry of European Integration. She underlined the recent establishment of the Japan-Kosovo Friendship Association named “Friends of Kosovo” that will initially focus in two directions: 1. Raising awareness about Kosovo in Japan, and 2. Exchanges between youth of Japan and Kosovo.

Chargé d'Affaires Mr. Mitsunori Ogasawara spoke on behalf of the Embassy of Japan in Kosovo, who especially refered to the recent activities of the Government of Japan in Kosovo including those on management of the COVID-19 pandemics and the implementation of projects through JICA. At the end, Chargé d'Affaires Mr. Enis Xhemaili, spoke on behalf of the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Japan, who mentioned the donations and support from Japan since the late Madam Sadoko Ogata – former UNHCR Commissioner, up to recently provision of trucks for the region of Prizren.

On this occasion, Mr. Xhemaili invited those present to work all together in brining Japanese investors to Kosovo, since Kosovo has a geostrategic position, young population, sound infrastructure, and coherent legislation in line with that of the EU. He also appreciated every single one for their contribution in the development of the economy of the Republic of Kosovo as well as the organisers of these editions.
All those present parted with the hope of further cooperation in the future and to bring the two populations as close as possible.