Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at the Opening Reception for the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Switzerland
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Residence of the Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Japan

Your Excellency Mr. Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation,
Mrs. Burkhalter, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to celebrate the opening of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Switzerland together with Your Excellency President Burkhalter and such a distinguished array of guests.

Japan and Switzerland have much in common. We are blessed with the beauty of nature and in particular with stunning mountain views. Our precision manufacturing with a traditionally fostered and advanced craftsmanship is widely acclaimed, and both peoples have friendly feelings towards each other. The beauty of the Swiss mountains is highly appreciated in Japan, and we are pleased to say that the mountain ranges that run through the center of our country are also known as the Japanese “Alps”. I personally have a great fondness for mountain-climbing. When I see such beautiful scenery in Japan, I am reminded of the magnificent vistas, such as the North Wall of the Eiger, which I enjoyed during my visit to Switzerland from Oxford where I studied about 30 years ago. At that time I visited Bern, Geneva and Grindelwald among other places and I also enjoyed skiing in the beautiful Swiss mountains. Meanwhile, the sister-city exchanges between many mountain towns and villages of Japan and Switzerland are further evidence of the love of nature that binds our two countries.

As many as 150 years ago the Treaty of Amity and Trade was signed between our two countries, and our formal diplomatic relationship commenced. In those days, there was vigorous trade between us: Switzerland supplied Japan with watches, while raw silk was exported from Japan to Switzerland. Since then, thanks to the many things our two peoples have in common, the bilateral relationship has greatly diversified. In the economic field, commercial exchange is flourishing in areas where both countries have high technical skills such as science, medicine, finance and the manufacture of precision machinery, with numerous Japanese companies having a presence in Switzerland and vice versa. Moreover, cooperation in the fields of science and technology as well as academic research is advancing steadily, and numerous tie-up agreements have been concluded involving research institutions, universities and private companies.

As just stated, we have consistently been able to weave the history of our friendship together, and this was possible because we have thought of and supported each other in times of need. In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a rescue team from Switzerland rushed to Japan, and the Onagawa Regional Medical Center was rebuilt with contributions from Switzerland. When Brienz suffered severe flooding in 2005, flood control facilities were installed through donations from its sister-city, Shimada in Shizuoka Prefecture. When we have faced particularly daunting predicaments, we have helped each other and thus further deepened our bonds.

For the last 150 years, the environment surrounding Japan and Switzerland has changed greatly. Our two countries are partners who share fundamental values, and we closely cooperate in the international community. It is important to address the challenges we face together, building on the friendship that both countries have forged over the last 150 years.

I am gratified that there will be a series of exchange events in wide-ranging fields such as politics, culture, research and the economy in Japan and Switzerland this year, which will function as a springboard for the further development of our friendship. As we commemorate our special anniversary, I sincerely hope that our two peoples will deepen their understanding of each other and that our friendship will increase more and more in the future.

Thank you.


Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at The 2014 World Water Day "The Water-Energy Nexus"
Friday, March 21, 2014
The United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here together with you to attend the main celebration of United Nations World Water Day.

"Water and Energy", the theme of the World Water Day of this year, are inseparably related to each other. The gravitational energy of water is utilized as a source of renewable energy in areas such as hydro power, which contributes 16 percent of global power generation. Micro-hydro power provides precious power to many communities in developing countries. Water is also used as a coolant in thermal power plants.

On the other hand, a substantial amount of energy is being consumed in order to collect, treat and distribute service water and wastewater. We should keep in mind that water both creates and consumes energy. The international community is intensively discussing climate change mitigation and adaptation, and it is timely and significant to deepen the discussion on the water-energy nexus with the view to promote integrated management of water resources and energy.

Water is the source of life. Water is also a threat to life when it turns into floods, droughts, and other water-related disasters. Many lives and properties were lost in the recent water-related mega-disasters occurring around the world, such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

I presented a key-note speech entitled "Revisiting the history of interaction between human beings and water-related disasters" at the United Nations Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters in New York in March, 2013. In the speech, I touched upon major water-related disasters in Japan and their historical records, emphasizing the importance of learning from history. It is vitally important to draw lessons from the experiences of our ancestors in order to prepare for disasters.

Man has used water as an easily available source of energy since prehistoric times, and this has enabled the development of our culture and civilization. It is meaningful to remind ourselves that our prosperity and development today stands on a foundation of history that developed through a water-energy nexus.

I am serving the United Nations as the Honorary President of the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation. The United Nations Members have acted together towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals such as a target to halve the proportion of population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. I understand that the Post-2015 Development Agenda is under intensive discussion at the United Nations. There are still around 770 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water. There are also a large number of people under potential threat of water-related disasters. I hope those people will soon gain access to safe water and be safeguarded against the threat of disasters. I hope to join you in your noble efforts to achieve this target.

I sincerely hope that the discussions today will promote the deepening of the multi-faceted discussions on water, extending networks of solidarity, and accelerating actions on water. It may lead to a day when we can call the 21st Century "the Century of Water Problem Resolution".

Thank you.


Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at the Opening Ceremony for the World Ophthalmology Congress 2014
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Tokyo International Forum

Distinguished participants and guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure today to attend the opening ceremony for the 34th World Ophthalmology Congress, with the participation of many ophthalmic researchers and clinicians from 129 countries and regions around the world.

The International Council of Ophthalmology is the world's largest ophthalmic society with a history spanning more than 150 years. This year's WOC is the second to be held in Japan, following the Kyoto conference of 36 years ago. I am sure that this year's theme of "contributions to advances in ophthalmology and prevention of blindness in the world" will spark profound and meaningful discussions.

I have heard that human beings receive approximately 80 percent of their information about the outside world through the sense of sight. Visual information has become even more important with the advance of the information society in recent years, and I realize that a healthy visual function plays a large role in determining the quality of life. There are regrettably however, still many people, especially in the developing countries, who lose their sight because they cannot have access to proper medical eye care.

I would like to convey my sincere appreciation for all your efforts including day-to-day research on eyes and visual function, and for your sharing ophthalmic treatment on a large scale with researchers throughout the entire world.

At present, developments in science and technology are bringing major changes to society. Advances in ophthalmology such as clinical application of new technologies, transplant therapies, and regenerative medicine will become more important. Let me conclude my remarks with the sincere hope that, through developments in ophthalmic research and clinical practice, the outcome of this conference will make a great contribution to the prevention of sight loss and thus to human happiness in the world.
















平成26年度全国高等学校総合体育大会「(きら)めく青春 南関東総体2014」が,全国各地から多数の参加者を迎えて,2020年にオリンピック・パラリンピックが開催されることとなった東京都を始め,千葉県,神奈川県,山梨県で開催されることを,喜ばしく思います。





Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at The Third Symposium of Sultan Qaboos Academic Chairs on "Managing Water Resources for Sustainable Development"
Thursday, October 2, 2014
The Ito International Research Center, The University of Tokyo

Your Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq Al Said,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Today I am very pleased to be present at the Third Symposium of Sultan Qaboos Academic Chairs, together with Your Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq Al Said, the Minister of Heritage and Culture of the Sultanate of Oman, and all of you from around the world.

The academic chair at the University of Tokyo was established by the generous contributions of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos as one of the chairs at thirteen universities around the world. It is my pleasure to witness this symposium in Tokyo today as a symbol not only of the satisfactory progress of this academic chair but also of the broadening ties between Japan and Oman, including at the level of academicians and researchers.

Twenty years ago, my wife and I visited the Sultanate of Oman for the first time. We were received with the most gracious hospitality by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the members of the Omani royal family and the Omani people. Oman is a beautiful country rich in historical and cultural traditions and heritages. I fondly recall the traditional camel and horse race I watched then and the beautiful scene of town houses in Muscat viewed from the sea. I am also pleased to note that the two countries, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations in 2012, have further been developing their excellent friendship and cooperation since then.

I consider the theme of this symposium, "Managing Water Resources for Sustainable Development", as very relevant. In the Middle East, including Oman, water scarcity is a common phenomenon. The situation has become serious as the growth of population is rapidly on the increase. As we can recognize, the proper management of water resources is a crucial task there. The experience of Oman and its challenges in this issue are therefore of great interest to me.

The international community, in particular the United Nations, has acted together towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, such as a target to halve the proportion of population without sustainable access to safe drinking water. While we have achieved this target, there are still around 750 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water. It is also said that water-related hazards account for 90 percent of all natural hazards. I sincerely hope that the discussions today will promote the deepening of the multi-dimensional consideration of water resources management and extend the worldwide networks of solidarity to accelerate actions on water.

Let me conclude with my sincere wish that this symposium today will further deepen mutual understanding and friendly relations between our two peoples.

Thank you for your attention.








秋田県では,「発見×創造 もうひとつの秋田」のテーマの下,県内各地で広範な分野にわたる文化行事が開催され,多くの方々が参加されていると伺っています。



Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at the Closing Plenary Session of the 11th Annual Meeting of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased that the 11th Annual Meeting of the Science and Technology in Society Forum has been successfully concluded after fruitful discussion over the past three days among esteemed participants from all over the world.

This is the fourth time I have attended this conference since its establishment in 2004. I appreciate the significance of the lively discussion over the last 10 years on various issues related to the so-called "lights" and "shadows" of science and technology, as well as sustainability for the future of humanity. I would like to express my deep respect for all the efforts made by those dedicated to this forum.

This forum covers urgent issues facing humanity such as environmental problems, including responses to climate change, energy use and global health. In order to cope with these issues, the international community is now required to hold multidimensional discussion on the shape of society in the future and advance international cooperation on such important topics as building global networks and establishing rules. From this viewpoint, it becomes more important than ever for experts in various fields from all over the world to address these urgent issues by creating interdisciplinary networks.

In thinking of the future of humankind, it is important to discuss the issues, including the environment, energy, food and water, from a longer-term perspective, not just 20 or 30 years from now, for the sake of everyone living on our planet, beyond mere national borders. Let me express my heartfelt wish that global leaders will continue their efforts to bring their wisdom together and search for the best way to make the most of science and technology for the future of our earth and the sustainable development of humankind.

In conclusion, I would like to renew my sincere wish that this annual forum here in Kyoto will further contribute to the sound advancement of science and technology and the future of humanity.

Thank you for your attention.










終わりに,この大会のテーマである「うけつごう緑の大地 羽ばたこうぼくらの未来へ」にふさわしく,森林を守り育てる活動の輪が,ここ山形の地から世界へ,そして未来へと大きく広がっていくことを願い,私の挨拶といたします。







国連「水と衛生に関する諮問委員会」第23回会合 水循環・水と災害特別セッションオープニング

Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at the Occasion of the Special Session of the 23rd Meeting of the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Mita Kaigisho

Dr. Uschi Eid, Chair of the UNSGAB,
Excellencies, distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to join you in the Special Session of the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation as the Honorary President. Since the establishment in 2004 under the Chairpersonship of the late Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, the Board has significantly contributed to the betterment of global water and sanitation. We may recall, to name a few successes: the International Year of Sanitation, the African Union Water Summit, and the Water Operators Partnership, as achievements of the Board under the leadership of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who chaired this board until last year.

I would like to thank Dr. Uschi Eid for her dedicated contribution to the Board as Vice-Chairperson since 2006, and now as Chairperson. I would like to express my respect to all the Board Members who supported the United Nations and the Secretary-General by fulfilling your mandate to help them achieve the internationally agreed targets on water and sanitation.

Water, through its cycle of evaporation, precipitation, run-off, intake and drainage, has supported our livelihood and society since ancient times. Major ancient civilizations have developed in the areas where water was available in abundance. If one should look at the history of a nation, a unique relation may be seen between the people and water, that has helped it develop its own culture and society.

Here in Japan, there are significant numbers of water facilities such as reservoirs, dykes, and waterways which are more than hundreds of years old or even a thousand years old, and still in use by the people. In Nara, our ancient capital, it was found that the ring-moat settlements of the Yayoi period over two thousand years ago already had facilities to answer to water supply, drainage, sanitation, and flood defense. It is interesting to note that in ancient Japan, when the concept of the country came about, the relation between humans and water was observed in the form of ring-moat settlements. Maintaining a sound water cycle has been a major concern of the people since the formation of our nation.

I have emphasized the importance of revisiting history to find future solutions for water-related challenges. It was in March last year that I made a key-note address in the Special Thematic Session on Water and Disaster at the United Nations under the co-chairpersonship of the Secretary-General, and Dr. Han Seung-soo, who is present here today. Historical accounts and records are useful not only in profiling disasters but also in analyzing relations between disasters and social recovery. I tried to show in my lecture, how accurate those records are in describing disaster phenomena, and how they give us insights for better disaster preparedness in the future. By making use of modern means of disaster management and learning lessons from history, I believe that we can create a society more resilient to disasters. In this way, we can turn chains of disruption into chains of recovery. We need, in addition, a strong will to make these things happen.

Currently Japan is faced with the issue, how to tackle water-related disasters which have occurred here recently and frequently. Again in August this year a significant number of residents lost their lives due to the massive landslide caused by torrential rain in Hiroshima. Last year I myself visited the town of Odai, the former Miyagawa village, in Mie prefecture and observed with my own eyes the disaster site, where many people lost their lives due to the huge landslide caused by heavy rain in September 2004. I was shocked by the magnitude of the landslide. The mayor of the former village of Miyagawa (now Odai) explained to me that the monitoring equipment for rainfall had been set up at more locations after the disaster. This measure was based on the experience that the disaster had not been anticipated because rain had not fallen heavily around the village office, located 4 km from the disaster site.

From this experience of my own, I came to realize the increasing importance of taking measures against local torrential rainfalls.

The UNSGAB has made a difference in the world, not only in recommending but also realizing global actions on water and sanitation. I hope the session today will lead to further actions by everyone towards a sound water cycle, better disaster preparedness, and safer water and sanitation everywhere in the world.

Thank you.



この大会は,「とどけよう スポーツの力を東北へ!」を合言葉に東日本大震災からの復興を願い,開催されます。全国の人々が,お互いに助け合いながら,将来に目を向け,活力のある社会を作っていくことは,誠に意義深いことです。





Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development
Monday, November 10, 2014
Nagoya Congress Center

Mrs. Bokova,
Your Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am greatly pleased that the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development is being held, together with so many participants from nations all over the world.

On our Earth today, along with economic growth and increasing populations, we are also witnessing the advancing change of climate, loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources, increases in poverty, and other problems. For our children and theirs, we have three important tasks: protecting the Earth's environment, which is the wellspring for ensuring lives abundant with blessings, treasuring the Earth's limited resources, and achieving sustainable development. In order to accomplish this, we, humankind, must do our utmost by pooling our knowledge and wisdom and unifying our capabilities.

Under these circumstances, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, 20 years after the 1992 Rio Summit. The 188 participating countries at the conference adopted a declaration titled "The Future We Want". It presents a challenge to each and every one of us to decide what actions we should take to ensure the sustainable future that we want.

In order to achieve sustainable development, each of us must recognize that we exist relative to all the other people in the world, and to future generations, as well as to our own natural environment. And we must consider the various global problems with a deepened international perspective. I feel certain that education is the basis for this.

I believe that during these last ten years of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, people around the world have been engaged in the ESD in various ways. It is very significant that in this last year of the Decade of the ESD, the UNESCO World Conference on the ESD is being held in Nagoya here in Japan, which originally proposed the idea of the Decade of the ESD.

In addition, I am told that, preceding this World Conference on the ESD, high school students and other young people from around the world gathered in the city of Okayama for earnest and lively discussions on the ESD. We have the highest expectations that these and other young people will support the future of the Earth as leaders for realizing sustainable societies.

Lastly, I would like to pay my profound respects to all of the organizers for their efforts in holding this World Conference on the ESD. I wish to express my sincere hope that active discussions on advancing the ESD will be held at this conference, and that concrete efforts in the field of education will be further advanced as a result for the building of sustainable societies in the future.

Thank you very much.