2023 New Year Message from H.E. Ambassador Kayoko Fukushima

Happy new year to you!

Last year was full of new experiences for me as I assumed the post of Japanese Ambassador to Barbados. I arrived in this beautiful country in April. I had the honor of presenting my credentials to H.E. the Most Hon. Dame Sandra Prunella Mason, President of Barbados, in May. Since then, I had the pleasure of meeting with various people in Barbados including the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, cabinet members, parliamentarians, government officials, business and academic leaders and members of the diplomatic community.

On 30 November last year, I had an opportunity to join the ceremonies to celebrate the 56th anniversary of independence and the first anniversary as a republic for Barbados.

Under the leadership of the Hon. Mottley, Barbados has been tackling the triple crises of COVID-19, climate change and the high cost of living. Barbados as a small island developing country is vulnerable to climate changes and natural disasters and I have personally witnessed the devastating impact of sargassum on the coastal areas. The Japanese Government supports sargassum management capacities in five Caribbean countries including Barbados through the UNDP. In addition, the Japanese Government supports Barbados in the coastal zone management through the IDB while JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) provides technical cooperation to promote energy efficiency in Caribbean countries including Barbados. I hope that these projects will be useful for Barbados to overcome the serious challenges in this year and years to come.

As the situation regarding the pandemic improved last year, we were at more ease to resume some visits between Barbados and Japan. In November 2022, four experts of environmental protection and fisheries visited Japan through the Young Leader’s Visit Program of the Association for Promotion of International Cooperation(APIC). I had opportunities

to meet with two JET(Japan Exchange and Teaching)Programme participants and a Japanese Government(MEXT)Scholarship recipient before their departures for Japan last year. I am glad to learn that Barbadian JET alumni play a role in bridging Barbados and Japan through engaging themselves in Japan related activities in Barbados.

In May last year, I met with Professor Clive Landis, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UWI Cave Hill Campus at the university and we discussed ways to promote academic exchanges between the UWI Cave Hill Campus and Japan. Japanese books were donated to the Barbados Community College and I met with Principal Ms. Annette Alleyne, her colleagues and students at a Japanese Book Donation Ceremony last October.

Last May, our Embassy launched its Instagram Account “@japanemb_barbados”. With a view to promote mutual understanding between Barbadian and Japanese people, we post various aspects of Japan and Barbados including both cultures and the Embassy’s activities. Please keep yourself updated by visiting our Instagram as well as this website.

I would be grateful for your continued support and cooperation with our Embassy this year as my colleagues and I endeavor to strengthen the bond between Japan and Barbados.

Last, but not least, I hope that you will have a wonderful year!