Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness,
It is a pleasure for the Empress and myself to visit your country at your invitation and to have another opportunity to meet Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness. I am very grateful for Your Majesty's most gracious words of welcome. May I also express my sincere appreciation to Your Majesty for all the considerations that you have been showing us in regard to this visit, despite the illness of your father. His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard, The Empress and I sincerely hope for the steady recovery of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard.
I first visited the Netherlands in 1953, eight years after the last World War ended. I still remember fondly that Her Majesty Queen Juliana and His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard invited me to a luncheon at Ter Horst and extended their warm hospitality.
Your Majesty visited Japan in 1963 on a State Visit, and since then the Empress and I have had numerous opportunities to meet Your Majesty and have spent some memorable moments together. Your Majesty, you have been always thoughtful; You have thought about the future of the friendly relations between Japan and the Netherlands, being mindful of the feelings of the Dutch people, and you have shown us numerous courtesies throughout the years. For all this, we are deeply grateful.
This year many events are taking place in both countries to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Japanese-Dutch relations. Our relations began when "De Liefde", one of five Dutch ships that had departed from Rotterdam in 1598, drifted ashore in Japan in 1600, after a voyage fraught with difficulties. One of its crew members, Jan Joosten, stayed in Japan and served the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. There is still a place in Tokyo named after him to this day. Shortly thereafter, Ieyasu issued a "Shuinjo" to your country, which permitted trade with Japan.
Subsequently, Japan adopted a policy of isolation and closed our borders to foreign countries, which lasted for more than 200 years. However, even during that time, our exchanges with the Netherlands were never interrupted. The Tokugawa Shogunate was kept abreast of the overseas situation by the Dutch Government through the Dutch Trade House on Deshima in Nagasaki. Trade between Japan and the Netherlands also continued. A number of physicians assigned to the Dutch Trade House provided information about Japan to Europe. They also played a role in providing Japanese doctors and scholars with knowledge of European medicine and science. Thus some of the fruits of the European civilization reached Japan by way of the Netherlands. The exchange between the two countries during this period is deeply interesting, as the knowledge from Europe that was introduced through a small outpost, Deshima, contributed to laying the foundations of our country in the period to follow.
Even after Japan established diplomatic relations with other Western countries in the latter half of the 19th century, a number of Dutch engineers such as Van Doorn, Escher and De Ri j ke, prominent in such fields as the construction of ports and irrigation facilities as well as riparian improvements, were invited to Japan and played important roles as government advisers. As can be seen from such examples, Japan continued to learn from the Netherlands in many areas and the friendly ties between our two countries continued unchanged.
It truly saddens me that the two countries had to engage each other in the last World War after such a history had unfolded between us. It grieves our hearts to think that so many people were victimized in their respective ways during that war and that there are still those who continue to bear unhealed scars from it. We believe that all of us should make incessant efforts to foster peace so that such events will never be repeated. Also, on this occasion, we cannot but recall anew the efforts of many people who have endeavored to strengthen the relationship between our two countries for such a long time since the end of the war until now. In particular, we shall never forget that there are people in your country who, while bearing with the scars of war, still have great hopes for the future of the relationship between our two countries.
I am truly delighted that today, fifty-five years after the end of the war, Japan and the Netherlands have achieved very close ties in diverse fields of human endeavor. Our two countries work together to address such important international issues as assistance to developing countries and the protection of the global environment. The Netherlands is one of our most important European partners in investment, trade and other economic activities. We also enjoy very active people to people contacts in a multitude of areas. Dutch culture, exemplified by such thinkers as Erasmus and Grotius and painters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, has always fascinated and enchanted the Japanese. Every year as many as four million people visit the "Huis ten Bosch" in Nagasaki modeled after the scenery of the Netherlands. The many events that are taking place in commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of Japanese-Dutch relations will also contribute to the furtherance of mutual understanding between our two peoples.
It is my sincere hope that the peoples of both countries will continue their efforts to achieve mutual understanding, bearing correctly in mind the overall history of the long interchanges between the two peoples, and that, looking towards the 21st century, they will work together for the peace and prosperity of the world.
May I propose a toast to the continued health of Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness and to the happiness of the people of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
It is a pleasure for the Empress and myself to visit Sweden at your invitation and to have another opportunity to meet Your Majesties. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Your Majesties for hosting this banquet for us this evening, and also for Your Majesty's gracious words of welcome.
I first came to Sweden in 1953, when I visited several European countries after having attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. At that time, I made trips from Stockholm to Goteborg and other places, and I called on His Majesty King Gustav VI Adolf and Her Majesty Queen Louise at the Royal Summer Residence of Sofiero. The warmth with which your grandfather received me, then a teenager, has been a dear memory which I still cherish.
Your Majesties, it was exactly twenty years ago that you came to Japan on a State Visit. In return, five years later I came to Sweden with the then Crown Princess, on behalf of Emperor Showa. I fondly remember the cordial hospitality Your Majesties extended to us on that occasion such as your kindness to accompany us to Uppsala. I am also deeply grateful to Your Majesties for attending both the funeral ceremony of Emperor Showa and my own enthronment ceremony.
Exchanges between Sweden and Japan began in the seventeenth century. At that time, Japan, under its policy of isolation, closed its borders to other nations.However, some Swedish people managed to visit Japan through the Dutch Trade House in Nagasaki. Among them was Carl Peter Thunberg who stayed in Japan from 1775 to 1776 as a doctor at the Dutch Trade House, and later became a professor at the University of Uppsala. He made detailed observations about Japan in the journal in which he recounted his travels across Europe, Africa and Asia. Considering that his stay in Japan was as short as one year and that he was only allowed to move within strictly limited areas, I was impressed to learn how deeply he understood Japan. It was a time when interest in European medicine and science was mounting in Japan, and Thunberg shared his broad knowledge with some Japanese scholars as they requested. During my last visit to Sweden, I was given an opportunity at the University of Uppsala to see letters sent by two Japanesedical doctors to Thunberg after he had returned home from Japan. It is deeply moving to know that there was such an exchange between a Swedish scholar and Japanese people during that unique period of isolation in Japan's history.
In the late nineteenth century, Japan was able to establish diplomatic relations with other nations, maintain its independence and develop as a modern nation,in response to advances toward neighboring areas by Western countries. Behind all this were the accumulated exchanges with European peoples prior to this period, and Thunberg was perhaps the first to initiate such exchanges.
Sweden has stayed in peace and maintained its independence for more than 180 years throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, during which time numerous wars have been fought, and it succeeded in avoiding ravages of the Second World War. It was eight years after the end of the war that I came here, at a time when Japan was recovering from the devastation of the war. So the prosperity and the beauty of your country were particularly more striking to me. With your unique history committed to peace, many Swedish people, such as Mr. Dag Hammarskjold, who served as Secretary General of the United Nations, have worked hard for the peace in international community. Sweden has also attained a very high level of social welfare, as well as being deeply engaged in environmental issues, as indicated by the fact that the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm. I understand that it was a Swedish research institute which first detected the accident at the nuclear reactor in Chernoby.
I am very pleased that exchanges between Sweden and Japan have steadily deepened in economic,academic,cultural and other fields, as well as in terms of people-to-people contacts. It is my sincere hope that our two peoples will continue to work closely together in order to realize our common hope of world peace and prosperity.
I would now like to propose a toast to the continued good health of Your Majesties and to the happiness of the people of Sweden.