A reception to celebrate His Majesty Emperor Naruhito’s 63rd birthday on 23 February was held at the residence of the Ambassador of Japan to Laos in Vientiane on 21 February 2023.
Distinguished guests were addressed by Japanese Ambassador Kobayashi Kenichi with a speech reviewing the longstanding close relationship between Japan and Laos.
The Ambassador invoked the symbolic cherry blossom (Sakura) and drew attention to a planting ceremony he attended at the Lao-Japan Sakura Friendship Park (Sakura
Park) in Viengxay, Houaphanh Province in January.
He said 2023 marks the 50th commemorative year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and
Cooperation. A Japan-ASEAN Special Summit is scheduled for Tokyo later this year.
Ambassador Kobayashi also expressed his commitment to continue working hand-in-hand with representatives in Laos to further develop and enhance the close friendship between the two countries to an even higher stage.
The Ambassador and guests shared a toast to the shared wish for further development of the Japan-Laos relationship as well as good health and success of all in the days ahead.
The reception was attended by Mr. Phout Simmalavong, Minister of Education and Sports and President of the Laos-Japan Friendship Association, Ms. Khemmani Pholsena, Head of the President’s Office, Ms. Bounkham Vorachit, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Ms. Baykham Khattiya, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Mr. Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manothong Vongxay Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce and many VIPs such as former Ministers, Deputy Minister and presidents of relevant Friendship Associations.
The Lao National Anthem was performed by Mr. Taiy Akard, a prominent Lao singer.
Japanese food and beverages were sampled by guests. Japanese companies, NGOs, and JICA’s Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) were active in introducing their local collaborations, products, and activities. Special Kimono Obi belts, which form the national costume of Japan, using high-quality Lao textiles were displayed as another symbolic example of the close links between Laos and Japan.