Japanese PM & Governor of Tokyo hosts iftar for Arab and Muslim ambassadors

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio hosted a Ramadan iftar on Monday, with around 25 Japan-based ambassadors and heads of Islamic missions attending.

The event, described as a “networking night,” was held at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.

Diplomats attending the event included the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, and Palestine.

The prime minister welcomed his “invaluable friends” from the various Muslim countries, as well as members of the respective parliamentary associations linked with those countries.

“Throughout the course of its long history, the Islamic world has incorporated things that were not part of its own world and in the spirit of harmonization and tolerance, it has translated those things into part of their own rich and diverse societies and cultures,” he said. “Japan has always embraced our ties with such Islamic societies. I, for one, have visited numerous Muslim countries and have sought to deepen the bonds of trust and friendship through dialogues with their leaders.”

Kishida reminded his guests about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he called “a dangerous situation,” adding: “The life and dignity of every human being should be equally honored and protected. Our hearts are with the ordinary citizens who are still suffering at this very moment in Palestine.

“Today, the world stands at an important point in history. Against such a backdrop, it is more important than ever before that Japan and Muslim countries work hand in hand with each other and advance our mutual cooperation.”

The prime minister added Japan has worked hard to try and reduce tensions in the conflict, and has continued to provide humanitarian aid. Japan, he said, would continue to work with Muslim countries “to realize a world where a Palestinian state can coexist with Israel.”

In closing, he wished everyone peace and prosperity.

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Japan posted a photo on X showing Ambassador Dr. Ghazi bin Faisal Binzagr and his wife at the iftar.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko hosted an iftar event on Tuesday for around 31 Japan-based ambassadors and heads of Islamic missions. 

The event, described as a “networking night,” was held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and guests were offered a meal and explanation of Tokyo’s plans for urban related projects.

Diplomats attending the event included the ambassadors and heads of missions of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Syria and Yemen. 

Koike, who is fluent in Arabic having studied in Cairo, opened her remarks by pointing out that the cherry blossoms currently blooming in Tokyo symbolize hope and new beginnings, before outlining some of Tokyo’s plans for the future.

One surprise, and in keeping with the religious significance of Ramadan, was the publication of a sightseeing guidebook especially for Muslim tourists to help enable them to enjoy their stay in Tokyo. Each of the guests was handed a copy to take home with them.

Koike also mentioned SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024, a series of events that aims to generate innovation to resolve challenges shared by cities.

“Three programs that will pave the way to a brighter future will be held,” Koike said. “The Global Startup Program, scheduled to be one of Asia’s largest; the City Leaders Program, which will gather leaders from around the world; and the Showcase Program, which will allow participants to experience life in the future. I look forward to your feedback and a very productive discussion, with the aim to further strengthen our ties with you.”

After iftar, there was a light show projected onto the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The show is planned to be a year-round event using the iconic Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No. 1 as a canvas to create a new tourist attraction.

The building is currently applying for Guinness World Records recognition as the world’s “largest permanent architectural projection mapping exhibition.” The project also promotes environmentally friendly initiatives such as green electricity.

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