The new Greek ambassador-designate to Japan is eager to enhance his country’s image and perception among Japanese during his tenure, especially through promoting the 2004 Olympics in Athens and through the country’s assumption of the European Union presidency in the first half of 2003.

Kyriakos Rodoussakis, who will present his credentials Tuesday, said during a visit to Rodoussakis The Japan Times that Greece’s National Theater will visit Japan next March for a series of performances as part of the cultural programs leading up to the Athens Olympic Games.

He said he also wants to introduce various events to increase mutual understanding of such issues as the environment, energy, transportation and the aging society — all matters common to Japan and the EU. He hopes that through these events, Japan, Greece and the EU will be brought closer, he said.

As an example of the closeness of the two countries’ ties — which date back 103 years — Rodoussakis noted that in recent years, Greek shipping companies have been placing orders for more ships at Japanese shipbuilding companies that have better technological competitiveness.

He noted that Greek shipping companies helped Japan’s shipbuilding industry build up its strength in the 1950s and 1960s.

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