Ambassador Satoshi Nakajima will be leaving the shores of PNG after serving for 2 years and 11 months.
He will be leaving on December 13th while his successor, Kuniyuki Nakahara, is expected in the country in a few weeks’ time.
The ambassador and his wife were farewelled at the Japanese Embassy on the evening of December 5th, where his Deputy Secretary of Policy, Satoshi Isono, said the ambassador will also be retiring after 43 years as a diplomat.
“To tell you the truth, it is not easy to work with Mr Nakajima because he’s a specialist of Asia and Pacific Region and always, he’s overwhelming us,” said Isono amidst laughter from a good turnout of diplomatic corps, political representatives and friends of Japan and PNG.
“He served Asia-Pacific Bureau twice and also he served four times in Vietnam and last year as a consul-general. And also he served embassy in East Timor and Solomon Islands. There he was the Chargé d’affaires.
“And also I have to tell you that he is a person who loves precise numbers and very accurate facts. So you can imagine how it was difficult for the staff to work with him,” Isono cheekily added.
Also present on behalf of the Prime Minister was former Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato, who said PNG has enjoyed a strong relationship with Japan over the years.
“Japan is a global player in so many fields, in respect of which, Papua New Guinea’s partnership, as a leader of the Pacific, has been required. And Japan’s partnership with Papua New Guinea in those areas has been so critical in enhancing the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”
Meantime, Nakajima said his three years in PNG have been filled with important events and developments like the APEC Leaders’ meeting in November 2018, which saw Japan’s Prime Minister visit PNG, the inauguration of the Marape Government in May and the Bougainville referendum, which is still underway.
He said throughout his travels around the country, he realised the great potential PNG has and he was struck by its natural beauty, cultural diversity and kindness that was extended to him wherever he went.
“My wife and I will bring back to Japan many fond memories about PNG and the people of PNG and leave with a sense of satisfaction for what I have done in Papua New Guinea,” he said.