DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi-Japanese ties hailed as Riyadh celebrates emperor’s birthday

Japanese Embassy in Riyadh hosted a reception to mark the upcoming birthday of Japanese Emperor Akhito. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 06 December 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi-Japanese ties hailed as Riyadh celebrates emperor’s birthday

  • “We have successfully introduced a new mechanism, the ‘Japan-Saudi Vision 2030,’ and now we are working closely in various fields of cooperation,” said Uemura

RIYADH: Japanese Ambassador Tsukasa Uemura paid tribute to the longstanding friendship between his country and Saudi Arabia as he hosted a reception to mark the upcoming birthday of Japanese Emperor Akihito, who will turn 85 on Dec. 23.
Guests at the event, at the ambassador’s residence in Riyadh’s diplomatic quarter last Thursday, included senior Saudi officials, members of the diplomatic corps, business representatives and members of the community. Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar represented the government of Saudi Arabia.
“The Japanese and the Saudi royal families have enjoyed long and splendid friendly relations for many decades,” Uemura said. “Crown Prince Naruhito, our next emperor, visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time in 1994 with the Crown Princess.”
Since then, the envoy added, the prince has visited Saudi Arabia several times, and King Salman has visited Japan to bolster ties. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also paid an official visit to Japan in September 2016.
The ambassador said that bilateral relations between the countries, are shifting to become a diversified strategic partnership.
“We have successfully introduced a new mechanism, the ‘Japan-Saudi Vision 2030,’ and now we are working closely in various fields of cooperation,” said Uemura. “We are determined to build much more amicable and broader relations with Saudi Arabia as indispensable partners to each other.”
Japan was one of the first countries to announce support for Saudi Vision 2030, and has offered to share its expertise in a number of fields, including energy, potable water, infrastructure, metro and train projects, entertainment, sports and other development projects in the Kingdom.
This year will be the final official celebration of Emperor Akihito’s birthday, as he will abdicate on April 30, 2019, and Crown Prince Naruhito will take the throne.


Formula E’s Felipe Massa races ‘fastest animal on planet’ in Saudi Arabia

Updated 10 December 2018
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Formula E’s Felipe Massa races ‘fastest animal on planet’ in Saudi Arabia

  • ABB FIA Formula E Championship listens to fans by pitting Gen2 car and Felipe Massa in race against a peregrine falcon in Saudi Arabia
  • Spreading his wings for the first time in Formula E machinery, 90-kilometers south-west of the Ad Diriyah, Massa’s mirrors loomed large with the claws of the peregrine falcon

RIYADH: Formula E driver Felipe Massa behind the wheel of a Gen2 racing car has gone up against a peregrine falcon in a straight fight in Saudi Arabia to outrun the fastest animal on the planet.

It’s not the first time the fully-electric Formula E car has been pitted against a member of the animal kingdom, with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne racing a cheetah on the Western Cape of South Africa last year.

Narrowly edging out the fastest land mammal in 2017, Formula E fans asked for a re-match — but this time together with more stern competition. Listening to the feedback of fans on social media, it was the turn of the peregrine falcon, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 350 km/h (217 mph) when diving through the skies above Saudi Arabia.

Massa was in the Kingdom ahead of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix, which will see the racing legend line-up on the Formula E starting grid for the first time on December 15 at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh.

For the battle of man and machine vs the natural world, the winged predator was trained to set its sights on a different kind of prey roaming through the desert — with a lure attached to the roll hoop of the advanced new-look Gen2 car.

Spreading his wings for the first time in Formula E machinery, 90-kilometers south-west of the Ad Diriyah, Massa’s mirrors loomed large with the claws of the peregrine falcon. But did he manage to shake off his opponent?

To watch Felipe and the falcon in flying formation, visit — https://youtu.be/ERxeaV60_7g

Felipe Massa, VENTURI Formula E Team driver, said: “It was an incredible experience for me to race against the fastest member of the animal kingdom — it’s not something I will forget in a hurry. I like the fact that this idea came from the fans, and Formula E listened and accepted the challenge.

“The footage from the drive is very special and it was a privilege to take part. I’m looking forward to returning to Ad Diriyah and to start racing. It’ll be my first race in Formula E and I’m eager to get behind the wheel again. I’ve missed racing and this series has shown to be one of the most competitive out there.”

The 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix is the opening round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the competitive debut of the Gen2 car and VENTURI Formula E Team driver Felipe Massa.

As well as Formula E action, exciting fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions, plus unique dining and retail experiences will be awaiting ticketholders at Ad Diriyah, across three days, starting December 13.

That evening, December 13, will see Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo kick off the first of three incredible nights of music concerts for fans. The following day, December 14, Arab music legend Amr Diab and globally-renowned pop band Black Eyed Peas will delight the audience. And, on December 15, race day, following the exhilarating 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will bring the event to an electrifying finale.

Only fans holding tickets will be able to access the entire Ad Diriyah site, including all the action, fun, and thrilling complimentary concerts.

Tickets are on sale at http://fiaformulae.com/Ad-Diriyah and are also available at Point of Sale units at Riyadh Park Mall, Oud Square and Doos Carting (only Grandstand tickets from Doos) and Seven Car Lounge.