On 28 and 29 December 2018, Ambassador Hayashi hosted a reception for celebrating the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at his residence in Brussels. Attendants included H.E. Mr Kris Peeters, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Employment, Economy, and Consumer Affairs, as well as representatives from the Belgian Government, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO), diplomatic corps, business, education and cultural sectors, and Japanese residents in Belgium.
Ambassador Hayashi remarked at the beginning that His Majesty the Emperor would abdicate at the end of April in the next year, and that His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince would accede to the throne at the beginning of May, thus this was the last occasion to celebrate His Majesty the Emperor’s birthday, and he made a brief review of the past 30 years of the Heisei period. Ambassador Hayashi stated that Japan and Belgium were enjoying excellent relations with cooperation in various domains this year, particularly Japanese companies’ investment to Belgium and their business ties with Belgian counterparts, and that Japan appreciated the support by Belgium, particularly by Deputy Prime Minister Peeters who played a central role, for the decision of holding EXPO 2025 in Osaka. He also mentioned the progress of the Japan-NATO partnership and the signing of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, extending his appreciation to those concerned for their cooperation.
Following this, H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Peeters stated in his greeting remarks that Japan was a distinctively special country for Belgium, with cooperation being advanced by the two countries in a variety of areas, particularly in economic and business relations, and that Belgium wholeheartedly congratulated the decision of holding EXPO 2025 in Osaka.
Mr Kazuya OIMATSU, President of the Japanese Association in Belgium, stated that, towards the new era, Japanese residents would further cooperate for Japan, Belgium, and the progress of two countries’ relations.
In the reception, Japanese food prepared by the chef de cuisine of the Ambassador’s residence was served, and Japanese Sake made in Fukushima Prefecture was offered in cooperation with the Fukushima Prefectural Government and Fukushima Prefectural Associations in Europe. Presentation stands were set up to introduce craftwork (gold leaves covering) from Kanazawa City, a sister city of Ghent, and indigo-dyed cloths (Aizome) from Hanyu City, a sister city of Durbuy. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as well as the 2025 EXPO in Osaka were introduced by panel displays.