Invitation to Tree Planting Photo Opportunity

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman and the Japanese Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Toshiro Ozawa, will preside over a ceremony to unveil Cherry Blossom trees donated to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) by the Embassy of Japan in June 2011.  

The ceremony will take place as follows:

Date: 12 October 2011

Venue: OR Tambo House, 460 Soutpansberg Road, Rietondale, Pretoria 

Time: 16h00.

Media are invited for a photo opportunity.

In 1992, South Africa and Japan established full diplomatic relations. The year 2010 marked the Centennial Year of relations and numerous projects and events were arranged in celebration thereof. One such project includes the 100 cherry blossom tree planting project.

During the visit by Her Imperial Princess Takamado in 2010, 2 cherry blossom saplings were planted by Her Imperial Highness, together with Mr Amos Masondo, the former Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, at the city’s Botanical Gardens.

On 20 July 2011, Cherry Blossom Trees were also planted in the gardens of the Rescue SA Office in Kempton Park, as a symbolic gesture of appreciation for their rescue efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

The Embassy of Japan donated 20 Cherry Blossom Trees to the DIRCO, which was supported and approved by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. The aforementioned visits and planting ceremonies served as a symbolic gesture of the good bilateral relations between South Africa and Japan. The planting of 20 saplings in the gardens of the OR Tambo Building and the Johnny Makhathini Guesthouse (formerly known as the Diplomatic Guesthouse) will therefore symbolise a continued commitment to bilateral relations.

During former Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada’s visit to Pretoria on 30 April 2010, it was agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to the level of Strategic Co-operation Partnership. The 11th (annual) Session of the SA-Japan Partnership Forum (PF) was held in Tokyo from 1-2 June 2011.

The SA delegation was led by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, who also participated in a Ministerial review meeting on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Major outcomes of the PF include the signature of the bilateral Technical Co-operation Agreement, paving the way for increased involvement by Japan in the provision of technical and scientific co-operation and skills development. 

Japan is South Africa’s 3rd largest trading partner and Japanese companies, for example Toyota and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT), among others, have invested R28 billion in SA in 2010 alone. The two countries co-operate in various fields, inter alia, training and skills development. Currently there are 103 Japanese companies in South Africa, employing approximately 200, 000 South Africans.

Statement by Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO

For further information, please contact Nelson Kgwete on 076 608 8567

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria

11 October 2011  

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