Toast by His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince at a Dinner
Hosted by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Your Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn,
I would like to express my profound gratitude to Your Royal Highness for your thoughtfulness in kindly hosting this magnificent dinner at the close of my visit to Thailand. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan enjoy a longstanding and fond relationship with the royal family of Thailand. Therefore, on this occasion of my first official visit to Thailand, and in light of such friendly relations, it is a special honor and great pleasure for me, not only to have been invited to this dinner tonight, but also to have had the opportunity to be received in audience by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand, and to be welcomed as if I were a family member. I would like once again to extend my sincere appreciation and best wishes for the good health and prosperity of Their Majesties.
In March last year, many precious souls were lost in the unprecedented earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. This afternoon, I met some of the Thai people who were engaged in activities to support Japan in the aftermath of that Great East Japan Earthquake. As I told each of them in person, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my deep appreciation for the support and encouragement extended to the people of Japan during that difficult time, from your royal family, the Royal Thai Government, and so many other Thai citizens.
Here in Thailand, devastating floods occurred last year, which also took many people’s lives and severely affected the economy of your country and other countries as well. I visited the ancient city of Ayutthaya this morning for the first time in 32 years. I had learned of the casualties of the floods, and when I saw the site with my own eyes, I was reassured to see that the people of Ayutthaya remained steadfast in overcoming the challenge, and that the reconstruction process is well underway despite the fact that physical traces still linger in some of the affected areas, including Ayutthaya’s archeological sites.
I also had the opportunity to take a cruise down the Chao Phraya River on a Royal Thai Navy cruise ship. The view from on board was so different from that of 32 years ago, since I saw more buildings along the riverside on this visit, which made me aware of the passage of time. However, the flow of the river remains eternal, and I could picture the old days when trading boats between Japan and Thailand had sailed up and down the river.
The strong and abiding friendship between Japan and Thailand could not exist without the persistent efforts by so many people of our two countries. I am told that a “sense of compassion” translates into Thai as “namjai,” which literally means “water in the heart.” Water, on one hand, can cause extreme destruction, but on the other hand, it fertilizes the earth, flows as in the rivers, and links our countries through the ocean. I am convinced that the “namjai” that was shown by the people of Thailand and Japan in the wake of the earthquake and the floods will continue to connect both our nations in the years to come. On the occasion of this visit, I, myself, am resolved to renew my efforts to further promote our mutual friendship.
To conclude, please join me in a toast to wish good health and prosperity for Their Majesties, Your Royal Highness and everyone here, and to thank all the people who worked so hard to ensure the success of my visit to Thailand. Pheua mittrapharb Thai-Yeepun! (For the friendship of Thailand and Japan!)