It is a great pleasure for me to be visiting the Kingdom of Bhutan in this beautiful season of flow ers, at the kind invitation of the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the kindness and the warm welcome extended to me on this visit.
I arrived at Thimphu yesterday, and today, I had the honor of meeting Their Majesties the King and Queen. I felt profoundly grateful to listen to Their Majesties’ most gracious words.
There is a history of friendship between our two countries as well as a continuing friendship between the Royal Family of Bhutan and the Imperial Family of Japan. My parents, Prince and Princess Akishino, visited Bhutan in 1997, when I was five years old. Their visit made me aware of Bhutan for the first time, and the strong impression I gained of the national flag with its dragon, the beautiful traditional costumes, and the smiles of the people, let me to hope that I would have the chance to visit Bhutan myself some day. And now, after 20 years from my parents’ visit, I feel very happy to be here with you.
Their Majesties’ compassion and heartfelt words in Fukushima Prefecture were and encouragement to people in the affected areas and remain in the hearts of the Japanese people.
Last year was a memorable year making the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Kingdom of Bhutan, and a variety of events were conducted to deepen friendly relations the two countries. When the exhibition “Bhutan: A hint to happiness” took place, Her Majesty the Queen Mother Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck and Her Royal Highness Princess Dechen Yangzom Wangchuck visited Japan, and I had the honor of meeting and speaking with Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness. I would imagine that many Japanese who saw the exhibition thought fondly about Bhutan. And I think that many Japanese people are attracted to Bhutan’s approach of achieving development while protecting other assets precious to human beings, such as tradition, culture and the natural environment.
I will have the honor of attending of opening ceremony of the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition and visiting many places in Thimphu and Paro during my stay here. I am looking forward to experiencing some of the charms of Bhutan. I will also have the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of Dasho Nishioka and to meet some of the people contributing to the friendship between our two countries. I would like to express my true respect to those who have been supporting the development of our close relationship. “Japan Week 2017 in Bhutan” has just started, and I hope that this event will provide an opportunity for the people of Bhutan to feel close to Japan.
In closing my address, I would like to wish Their Majesties The King and Queen and the members of the Royal Family good health, as well as prosperity and happiness for all the people of the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the further development of the friendly relationship between Japan and Kingdom of Bhutan.