Hisham El-Zimaity, the Egyptian ambassador to Japan since 2011, expressed hope in changing Japanese people’s “negative” view of his country into a much more “forthcoming” one, now that Egypt is striving to restore economic and social stability following the recent turmoil.
Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, the former head of Egypt’s army, became president in early June, ousting Mohammed Morsi from power following mass demonstrations.
El-Zimaity said that there are two issues of prime importance to el-Sisi’s government: protecting women and stabilizing the economy.
Citing the Muslim Brotherhood’s attack on a young mother during the celebration after el-Sisi’s election victory, El-Zimaity said protecting women is highly important.
“Women should be free again to walk anytime they wish to in a public place, without being harassed or (sexually) abused,” he stressed.
El-Zimaity also touched on the strong bilateral ties between the Middle Eastern country and Japan that go back 152 years, and praised Japanese support in the education and technology fields in recent years.
Today, two symbolic projects are under way, he said. Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, which opened in 2010 with support from the Japanese government and 12 Japanese universities, is scheduled to open a new campus near Alexandria next year, and the Grand Egyptian Museum, an ambitious complex being developed with financial support from Japan.
The museum, located near the Giza pyramids, will include a center for restoring ancient Egyptian artifacts from cloth and copper to wood and mummies using Japanese technology. It also has a database established with Japanese assistance that keeps records of each treasure’s historical background. El-Zimaity, citing a significant decline in Japanese tourists to Egypt, said the country is eager to build those numbers back up. Egypt is now “secure, stable, and life is back to normal,” he said.
Prior to his posting in Japan, El-Zimaity was ambassador to Pakistan, Slovenia and Hungary