The Government of Japan has promised to stand side by side with Liberia in all aspects of its developmental agenda. The Charge d’Affaires of the Japanese Embassy accredited near Monrovia Mr. Shigeru Umetsu said Japan intends to continue supporting Liberia in the energy and infrastructure sectors.Mr. Umetsu said his country is not only focusing its support to Liberia based on the Ebola Virus Disease.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony of the 7 ambulances and 48 beds at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Umetsu expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Liberia and the victims of the Ebola virus. The Japanese Charge d’ Affaires recalled that Japan was fast in responding to the Liberian people through financial and material assistance during the early outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Mr. Umetsu promised that Japan will not stop at supporting Liberia in the fight against Ebola but also lead Liberia back on the development track and continue to stand side by side with Liberia.The Japanese Diplomat stressed that despite the distance between Liberia and Japan, the Japanese people are very determined to support the Liberian people in the fight against Ebola, as the fight against Ebola is an international fight which includes Japan.
Representing the Government of Liberia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sylvester Grigsby appreciated the Japanese donation and effort, and recognized that the donation is not only government to government but also people to people. Hon. Grigsby recalled that since the beginning of H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s led administration; Japan has been there for the Liberian people. The partnership between Japan and Liberia has seen projects including the reopening of the Japan – Liberia Friendship Hospital, the ground breaking for the Somalia Drive project, and the JapanFood Aid under the “KR Two” program.
The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs mentioned that the Liberian Ambassador in Tokyo has also been receiving phone calls and had meetings with students, members of Japan’s Parliament and ordinary Japanese willing to contribute to the fight against Ebola in Liberia. The Liberian Ambassador saidthere is currently a container at the Embassy in Japan with more than 1000 students’ footwear, gloves, PPEs and body bags awaiting shipment to Liberia. Hon. Grigsby thanked the Government and People of Japan on behalf of the President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Foreign Minister, H.E. Augustine K. Ngafuan and the Government and People of Liberia for the solidarity that has not only been expressed but demonstrated by the Government and People of Japan.
For His part, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hon. Axel Addy while appreciating the Japanese Government recalled the launchingof Liberia’s transformation agendaand Japan focused assistance on the infrastructure segment of the agenda.
Minister Addy stated that Japan and Liberia were in the process of building the Somalia Drive before the outbreak of Ebola. Minister Addy also expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government and People of Japan for the continuous commitment and partnership as Liberia continues the fight against Ebola.
Deputy Minister for International Corporation and Economic Integration, Hon. Elias Shoniyinin in his introductory remarks also articulated gratitude to the JapaneseGovernment and the effort of the Embassy of Japan in Ghana for the consistent support toaid Liberia off the Ebola scourge that has attempted to discriminate theentire Liberian society.
Hon. Shoniyin hoped that Japan will continue to support Liberia until the fight against Ebola is over, as Japan promised to stand side by side with Liberia in this fight.
The handover ceremony was held on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.