President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has this evening said that Japanese assistance to the Maldives and its contributions to national development span the length and breadth of the archipelago. The statement was made at the official dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, in honour of President Yameen. The Dinner was held at Official Residence of the Prime Minister.
In his speech, the President noted that Japan has been the most generous development partner, in the post-independence era of the Maldives. Highlighting that Japan also continues to be the biggest bilateral donor in development, President noted that, so far, a cumulative total of nearly USD 300 million has been extended by the Japanese Government as Overseas Development Assistance to the Maldives.
Speaking in this regard, the President pointed out that Japan’s pioneering contributions to the socioeconomic development of the Maldives ranges from human resources to environmental protection, sustainable fisheries to modern communications and broadcasting, humanitarian assistance to post-tsunami recovery and reconstruction, sports cooperation and youth empowerment. He stressed that it was likely today, there is not a single Maldivian who has not benefitted, both directly and indirectly, from support and assistance by Japan.
In his speech the President said that the relationship between Japan and Maldives has stood the test of time, with tourist arrival numbers to the Maldives from Japan remaining consistently strong over thirty years at approximately 40,000 per annum. The President expressed pleasure for the Maldives being selected again this year, by the Japanese people as their “dream destination”.
President Yameen noted with deep satisfaction, that the trade and commercial ties between the two countries have shown steady growth in recent years. The President expressed hope that the Maldives Investment Forum and the Maldives Tourism Promotion Reception, scheduled for tomorrow, would contribute to strengthening relations in areas of trade, investment and tourism.
Pointing out that his visit symbolizes the close friendship and cooperation between the two countries, President Yameen said that it was an honour to be the very first Maldivian Head of State to visit Japan on the invitation of the Japanese Government. The President also said that it was reaffirmation of joint commitment by the two countries to advance bilateral ties in the time ahead.