Ambassador and Consul General Mitsuhiro Wada shares his thoughts on Japan and Hong Kong.
Bridges: How would you characterize the current state of bilateral relations between Japan and Hong Kong?
Wada: There is no doubt our friendship and our mutual trust are the foundations of our relationship. There are more than 20,000 Japanese nationals in Hong Kong and Japanese culture, language, food and goods can be found throughout Hong Kong society. Japan has always been one of Hong Kong peoples’ most favorite travel destinations. Since 2019, many events have occurred in the situation surrounding Hong Kong. Japan and the international community have strong concerns about the current state and the future of “One Country, Two Systems.” However, I hope the long-standing friendship and trusted relationships shared between the people of Japan and Hong Kong remain unchanged. As consul general, I would like to contribute to the development of our friendship and trusted relationship.
What are your expectations for Hong Kong, post-pandemic?
First, I sincerely hope that the pandemic will end as soon as possible. Once it settles, we will make every effort to facilitate pre-pandemic-level people-to-people exchanges between Japan and Hong Kong. Though online exchanges have taken place during the pandemic, we intend to place the utmost importance on real people-to-people exchanges at various levels to ensure the Japan-Hong Kong relationship is supported and strengthened.
I would like to focus on several areas further deepening Japan-Hong Kong relations (in the) medium-to-long term. I believe that Japan and Hong Kong, both with aging societies, can cooperate in the implementation of measures for our aging societies and by providing nursing care. The introduction of Japanese nursing and care-equipment systems will contribute to Hong Kong society.
The development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is of great interest to many Japanese businesses. I hope to play a role in advancing a mutually beneficial cooperation platform between Hong Kong and Japanese companies. This includes the promotion and distribution of Japanese food products in the Greater Bay Area.
On the other hand, in order to continue promoting Japan-Hong Kong relations, it is essential that under the “One Country, Two Systems,” Hong Kong continues to uphold a free and open system and develop in a democratic and stable manner. Japan will continue to work in cooperation with the international community in this regard.
What message would you like to share with our readers?
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the people of Hong Kong for their unchanging and passionate support and affection towards Japan. After the pandemic, I hope that people will visit Japan again and enjoy their time there. As we prepare for Hong Kong’s Japan Autumn Festival this year, we look forward to providing people with an opportunity to experience Japanese culture, both in person and online.