Japan’s Government is “showing commitment” to open a Japanese Embassy in Malta “in the near future,” Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Minister Ian Borg said on Wednesday during an official visit to Tokyo, Japan.

During a meeting with the Parliamentary Friendship Group between Japan and Malta, Minister Borg said that this is an important step forward for Malta’s bilateral relations with an important country as Japan.

During this official visit to Japan, Minister Borg held a meeting with the Nippon Foundation, a private, non-profit grant-making organisation working to achieve a better society.

During a discussion with Chairman Yōhei Sasakawa, it was stated that Malta has always played a positive role on multilateral fora in terms of climate diplomacy. Dr Borg also explained the role that Malta will have within the United Nations Security Council, especially during the Presidency in February 2023.

He reiterated that Malta will be seeing that particular attention is paid to the impact of climate change on small island developing states (SIDS). In recent years, this foundation has contributed towards 66 scholarships for students from all over the world to come to Malta and study at the National Maritime Law Institute.

Minister Borg also had a meeting with the Japan Trade Confederation. The discussions focused mostly on the export of Maltese tuna to this market. He stated that, just as this sector is a success, there is a need to work harder so that this success is mirrored in other sectors and products. “Malta has much more to offer, namely in the service industry, pharmaceuticals, logistics, maritime and aviation, among others. We want to see that the commercial relationship between the two countries continues to grow,” reiterated Minister Borg.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs also visited the Tourism Expo, where, among others, Malta has its stand to further promote tourism to the island. In a meeting with the Chairman of the Japanese Association for Travel Agencies Hiroyuki Takahashi, collaboration and existing and potential opportunities to strengthen tourism between the two countries were discussed. Before the pandemic, Malta hosted around 25,000 tourists and 4,000 Japanese English language students a year.

During his visit, the minister had the opportunity to also visit the Tokyo fish market and experience a tuna auction. He spoke to a number of Maltese tuna importers about the success that this Maltese product has in Japan.

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