In 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Egypt and the following year President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi visited Japan. Both leaders have vowed to focus on peace, security and development projects to further strengthen the ties between our two countries.
The impact quality education has on a society is of paramount importance to a country’s development and Egypt and Japan are working closely together on educational partnerships such as the Egypt Japan Education Partnership (EJEP). The EJEP encompasses early childhood, basic, technical and higher education.
We help them introduce Japanese-style educational concepts such as ‘Whole Child Development’ — also known as Tokkatsu or ‘Special Activities’ — to Egyptian elementary and secondary schools. This concept contributes to the development of children’s not only academic but social, emotional and physical skills by encouraging team work and creative-thinking skills, cleaning the classroom together and giving students the opportunity to be ‘class-leader’ for a day.
The Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) is collaboration between Japan and Egypt. The research university aims to cultivate a leading research and academic environment and become a higher education benchmark for Egypt and other African countries.
Egypt’s population of almost 100 million is at the crossroads of three continents. Strategically positioned between the Middle East, Europe and Africa, the country is an important partner for Japan in terms of ensuring security across the region and as an economic partner. Notably, Egypt holds the chairmanship of the African Union this year and we expect Egypt to play a central role in the TICAD7 summit meeting in Yokohama, Japan at the end of August this year.
The image of Japan is extremely positive in Egypt and, personally, I have been made to feel very welcome. We want to encourage more Japanese visitors to experience Egypt and invite Egyptians to visit Japan. Safety and security across the country has significantly improved, though basic security precaution is naturally required, such as using the Foreign Ministry’s travel registration (Tabi-regi). As of December last year, there are two weekly direct flights between Cairo and Tokyo.
Established with grant assistance of Japan, last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Cairo Opera house. To mark the occasion, AIDA was performed by the Japanese Soprano singer Ms. Michie Nakamaru (the first non-Italian winner of Maria Callas Competition) at the Cairo Opera House on December 4 and 6 last year. Ms. Nakamaru shared the title role with iconic Egyptian Soprano, Ms. Iman Mustafa and symbolized the cultural synergies found between Japan and Egypt. Mr. Ryu Goto, the world-renowned violinist will perform at the Cairo Opera house in June to close the 30th anniversary.
With a civilization dating back 7,000 years, Egypt is an exciting country and the relationship between our two countries will continue to develop as we look to the future.