Diriyah is a beacon of the Saudi transformation

Diriyah is a beacon of the Saudi transformation

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On behalf of the Japanese citizens, I would love to extend my sincere congratulations on Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi people.

Since assuming the ambassadorship to the Kingdom in February 2021, I have been moved by Saudi’s economic drive and cultural refinement. I did not anticipate what would happen in such a quick manner when I served as deputy chief of the mission in Riyadh. Transformation of the Saudi people’s behavior is also worth mentioning. I am confident that the Saudi people have become more active in their civic lives and energetic in business, while working toward the highest economic and cultural aspirations of the Middle East.

I have witnessed the Kingdom’s multifaceted transformation through government efforts embodied by the Saudi Vision 2030. The Kingdom’s uncompromising efforts will ensure that Saudi Arabia achieves a diversified and sustainable economy, refines itself as a cultural lighthouse of the Arab and Islamic world, and become a reliable and stable architect in the region’s peace and stability.

Japan stands by Saudi Vision 2030 without hesitation for the Kingdom to become an economic and cultural powerhouse of the region. Since Japan and Saudi Arabia have launched Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, both governments have committed to implementing various future-oriented projects, which include some infrastructure projects.

In addition, Japan, as a token of the heart-to-heart friendship, remains supportive of the Kingdom’s cultural enhancement on the global stage. For example, the movie “Journey,” depicts the ancient history of the Arabs using Japanese anime-style animation and is an excellent embodiment of the blooming Japanese-Saudi cultural ties.

On the holy national day, I would like to congratulate again Saudi Arabia’s incredible efforts for hosting the G20 summit last year and becoming the first Arab country to do so despite the tumultuous COVID-19 pandemic.

As a Japanese ambassador who has witnessed the Kingdom combatting this unprecedented struggle of humankind, I feel confident that Saudi’s comprehensive and digitally driven strategy to overcome the pandemic will create a positive ripple effect for international health cooperation. It will also bolster the public health system of the country to deal with future infectious diseases.

The Riyadh G20 summit was held in exceptional circumstances last year while the historical memory of Diriyah brought Saudi Arabia a silver lining to represent the cultural aspiration of the country. The Kingdom maintains a growing number of national heritages entailing architectural styles in ancient times, while preserving the environment and geological features of Saudi’s state-of-the-art technology.

My visit to Diriyah brought me an inspiring cultural experience. I encountered the memories of the glorious days of the first Saudi dynasty such as heritage-rich sites and the district’s buildings, traditional crafts, and calligraphy.

Diriyah is a cultural destination that tells the Kingdom’s history and also aims to become a global lifestyle hub through hospitality, retail, and education. I hope that the refinement of Diriyah, as a beacon of the Saudi transformation, will lead the unprecedented journey of Saudi Arabia. Japan always stands with the Saudi people and spares no effort to support Saudi Vision 2030.

I wish the government and the people of Saudi Arabia success and prosperity for today and for years to come. Happy National Day.

  • Iwai Fumio is Japan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Diriyah, past, present and future
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