Message from Ambassador Ito
My name is Koichi Ito, and I arrived in New Zealand in December of 2020, formally beginning my diplomatic tenure as the Ambassador in February of 2021. Since my arrival here, I have had the opportunity to visit many places here in New Zealand, and I have been truly impressed by its magnificent natural landscapes, rich history and diverse ethnic and cultural aspects.
New Zealand is familiar to most Japanese people as being friendly toward Japan, having beautiful nature, being clean and environmentally conscious, and above all, as a nation driven by its zest and enthusiasm for sports—especially rugby!
Japan and New Zealand are strategic cooperative partners founded on common values such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. We have closely worked together in many different areas, including economy, security, as well as on global issues such as climate change. We are now working closer than ever before to strengthen our collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region in order to ensure free, open and rules-based international order in the region.
Japan and New Zealand are also key economic partners who have actively promoted free trade. Thanks to the efforts of our two nations, people in Japan are able to enjoy New Zealand’s key export products such as beef, dairy, kiwifruit, and honey. The close economic ties between our two countries also have huge potential in the renewable energy sector. Our government recently announced a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 to realize a carbon-neutral society. We would like to work together with New Zealand to achieve carbon neutrality. Meanwhile, in the sphere of grassroots exchanges, Japan and New Zealand have supported our mutual sister city relationships for decades, which closely connect our communities to enhance mutual and cross-cultural understanding.
In New Zealand there are about 20,000 Japanese residents and over 200 Japanese companies. The Embassy of Japan will continue to ensure that all Japanese nationals who find their way here, either as short or long-term residents, are able to live and work with complete peace of mind. While we are still facing challenges due to COVID-19, I am personally committed to continuously and reliably supporting Japanese nationals who visit or reside within this country.
2022 marks the 70th anniversary of Japan-New Zealand diplomatic relations. I am delighted to have been appointed as the Ambassador at this exciting time, and want to seize the momentum of this significant milestone to deepen our relationship even further. I will also continue to maintain our Embassy as an open, friendly, accessible space, so please feel free to come and visit us anytime. Thank you as always for your continued support, understanding, and friendship.
2nd February 2021
Ambassador of Japan to New Zealand