RIYADH: Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Kawahara Kazutaka hosted an iftar gathering in Riyadh for alumni of Japanese universities and academic institutions.
About 40 Saudi students attended this year’s iftar, a number higher than last year’s attendees. Kazutaka, who came to Saudi Arabia in August last year, learned Arabic from a private teacher in Damascus, the capital of Syria, and worked at the Japanese Embassy in Egypt, where he continued to learn Arabic there.
“Saudi Arabia has a lot to be discovered and is very exciting and I am very happy to be here,” he told Arab News Japan. This Ramadan’s iftar at the Embassy of Japan in Saudi Arabia was the 10th iftar gathering for Saudi graduates from Japan.
Former Saudi Arabian students interacted with and welcomed new graduates. There was also a former Saudi graduate from Hokkaido, and there was also a former student from Okinawa.
Kazutaka gave a speech in Arabic after the iftar. He said: “I am pleased to see that cultural exchanges between Saudi Arabia and Japan are making visible progress. We are actively working to introduce Japanese culture to the people of Saudi Arabia, such as holding the annual Japanese Speech Contest. In addition, during the Riyadh season, there were many programs about Japanese culture at Anime Town. I hope that this kind of cultural exchange will become more and more popular.”
Regarding tourism in Japan, he told guests they could start applying for an electronic visa from March 27. “There will be opportunities to strengthen the bonds of love and friendship between the two countries Saudi Arabia and Japan.”
Japan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Iwai Fumio was unable to host this year’s Ramadan event due to business travels. — Malak Alzahrani