My relationship with Japan started at an early age. In the UAE, we grew up watching Japanese animation and hearing from family members how Japan’s innovation  affected our economy. The UAE’s economy was based on pearl diving, but the advent of Mikimoto Kokichi’s cultured pearls disrupted our industry, which taught us to be more resilient. It’s interesting to think about how we went from watching Japanese animation shows such as “UFO Robot Grendizer,”  which were based on space exploration and how we collaborated with Japan to launch our first interplanetary space probe from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan as part of the Emirates Mars Mission.

My first visit to Japan was in the summer of 2000, but my first time living in the country was from 2003 to 2004. I lived in Beppu and Tokyo for six months each to attend Japanese language training and training with Japanese oil companies. This is where I developed an appreciation for Japan’s diversity. Every prefecture that I visit has unique characteristics, geography, food and people.  I am privileged and honored to serve my country as the UAE Ambassador to Japan.

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