Contributed Article by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio the Ahram Newspaper
April 30, 2023
"Hand in hand with Egypt for prosperity in the next 100 years"
From April 29, I will visit Egypt for the first time since assuming office as Prime Minister. The reason why I chose Egypt as the first destination of my week-long visit to Africa is simply because of the importance Japan attaches to its relationship with Egypt. Why does Japan place such importance on its relationship with Egypt?
First, both countries have thousands of years of history and rich culture and traditions, and have been walked hand in hand as irreplaceable friends. The cooperation between Japan and Egypt is not aimed for growth in one year or ten years, but for the prosperity of Egypt in the next 50, or even 100 years. Japan and Egypt have been cooperating from a long-term perspective. Such cooperation includes the investment in the youth of the future, represented by the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST), which serves as an intellectual hub in Africa, and the Egypt-Japan School (EJS), where more than 10,000 Egyptian children study; cultural facilities such as the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and the Opera House; and quality infrastructure such as the Suez Canal's "Peace Bridge" and the Cairo Metro. Japan, which is surrounded by the "Four Seas (yomo-no-umi)," and Egypt, where the Suez Canal, a major logistics artery, is located, also share common interests in the peaceful and safe use of the oceans. Japan will continue to develop a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” and cooperate closely with Egypt toward strengthening maritime connectivity and safety of maritime traffic for the benefit of the development of Egypt.
Second, Egypt is an important partner in upholding a free and open international order based on the rule of law. Russia's aggression against Ukraine has fundamentally shaken the very foundations of peace and prosperity that the international community has sacrificed so much to build. The resulting food shortages and energy price hikes have caused suffering for many people in Egypt and around the world. In order to ensure that our descendants can enjoy peace and prosperity in the future, unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, must not be tolerated. Now is the time to reaffirm the principles of the UN Charter and to firmly support the development of Egypt and other African countries. As Japan currently holds the G7 Presidency and a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, we intend to lead international discussions. I also look forward to confirming with my Egyptian counterparts to work together to upholding a free and open international order based on the rule of law so that the international community can take concerted steps toward peace and prosperity.
It is time for our two countries to step forward as strategic partners working together for the peace and prosperity in the Middle East and African region, and the world at large, based on the strong relationship of trust that our longstanding friendship has fostered. I will share this vision with President El-Sisi and will strengthen our bilateral relationship in a wide range of areas, including politics, security, economics, education, culture, and sports. About 60 years ago, Japanese company that participated in the Suez Canal renovation, a national project for Egypt, bravely tackled the project with wisdom and technology, despite the suspension of construction due to war and the hard bedrock known as the "devil's bedrock." Japan has been and will continue to be there for Egypt in both the public and private sectors, and we are ready to overcome any difficulties together for Egypt's prosperity for the next 100 years. I look forward to seeing the bonds of friendship between our two countries strengthen once again in Egypt, as the saying goes, "Once you drink from the Nile, you will come back again."