Francis Mariur Matautaro
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
- Embassy of the Republic of Palau
Date of birth: Sept. 28, 1948
Hometown: Peleliu, Republic of Palau
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 5 (as of October 2018)
My first encounter with Japan was in 2002 to Aquamarine Fukushima on a study tour as chief executive officer of Palau International Coral Reef Center and Palau Aquarium. Director Yoshitaka Abe of Aquamarine Fukushima and I had signed a relationship agreement in Palau prior to this visit for collaboration between our aquariums. We collaborated on a special display of species of goby found in Palau at Palau Aquarium for the visit of Their Imperial Majesties to Palau in April 2015.
The centerpiece display was a pair of akebonohaze (elegant firefish), believed to be the favorite of Their Majesties.
Expect the unexpected. Life is full of twists and turns, surprises — pleasant and unpleasant. One must be in an accepting state of mind to take things as they come and make the best of it. It’s not what happens, but how we respond that counts.
I am a proud father of three. I can’t say I’m the best parent. I give that recognition to their mother. I can still claim, though, that I’m the proudest when it comes to my children and grandchildren. Despite all the trials and tribulations, and a good dose of regrets along the way for what I should or should not have said or done, I must admit parenthood has been a pure miracle journey and the best life education there is.
I’d like to finish my posting as ambassador of Palau in Japan feeling that I have made our two countries a lot closer to each other. I’ll leave with a sense of contentment if I feel I had contributed to the deepening of our friendship that we have enjoyed over the years.
Japan is a very hospitable host country. As a diplomat, we have enjoyed the omotenashi (hospitality) that Japan is well-known for in little and big ways. My advice is to enjoy your time to the fullest. It’s a magical place, deep in culture yet very modern, exquisite yet deeply rooted in its long traditions.