Greece and Japan—Strengthening Bilateral Ties


H.E. Mr. Loukas Karatsolis
Ambassador of Greece to Japan
Greece has undergone an important transformation during the past five years. Through extreme effort and economic sacrifices shared by all citizens, our country has achieved a fiscal adjustment that is unparalleled by the standards of any modern economy and it is gradually emerging from the economic difficulties it experienced. With renewed strength, we move ahead towards a more vibrant and stable economy with equal burden-sharing among all members of the society. Our aim is to prosper, after having completed all the necessary structural reforms, within a stronger and dynamic European Union.

Greece and Japan have various traits and traditions in common. Both countries are maritime nations. Local communities, through comparable economic and social conditions, developed distinct elements that make them so special today. Nature and climate obliged both peoples to exploit the sea and its resources, while modeling their lifestyles according to their seafaring activities. The ancient Greek world owed its prosperity to the sea and sea commerce facilitated its efforts to achieve prominence among other contemporary nations.

Today, an important portion of the Greek-owned fleet is being built in Japanese shipyards, continuing a trend that started in the 1950s and considerably contributed to the efforts made by Japan to revitalize its economy after World War II. More than a hundred vessels are currently being built in Japan with a value of at least USD 8 billion.

As the touristic summer season approaches, Greece looks forward to providing unparalleled travel experiences to visitors from around the globe. Last year, more than twenty two million travellers were drawn to the natural splendor of the Greek islands and the richness of our ancient culture. On offer are unique monument sites, a thick calendar of cultural events, as well as a staggering array of recreational activities to suit any budget and taste, coupled with a dependable and safe infrastructure that meets the expectations of every visitor. Safety and quality are the two main advantages of travelling to Greece and savoring its abundance of culture and tastes.

The unwavering goodwill and mutual respect between our countries and peoples serve both as a valuable beacon and an inspiration to us all. As the Greek-Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn once said, “In Japan, there is a certain joy, of which the Western world can show no parallel”. My goal would be to make more accessible the cultural richness of Japan to the Greek people, as we draw closer to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, a very important event, which highlights the survival of another major ancient Greek ideal.

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