Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
at the University of Malaya, Malaysia
April 14th, 2017
Your Royal Highness Sultan Dr Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Sultan of Perak and the Chancellor of the University of Malaya,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Selamat Petang （セラマッ・プタン）
It gives me a great pleasure to visit Malaysia and the University of Malaya, one of the top academic institutes of this country, today at this important juncture of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Malaysia. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere respect to the University of Malaya, one of the oldest and the most esteemed universities in Malaysia, for its contribution to the progress of society, the development of the country and the rise of ASEAN, by fostering a number of political leaders, diplomats, scientists, medical doctors, engineers, academics and others.
In 1970, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, then Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, visited this University, and planted a tree for commemoration in the vicinity of this auditorium. I am deeply impressed by the fact that this tree, together with this university, is now a symbol of the friendship between Japan and Malaysia. This tree is firmly rooted in this land, and widely spreads its branches.
As I mentioned at the press conference before I left Japan, I remember that I first heard of Malaysia when my parents, then Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, visited this country in 1970. While I do not clearly recollect what my parents told me about their visit to Malaysia, I can definitely say that as a mere child I knew of Malaysia as a country with a highly respected King. In addition, my childhood hobby was to collect Japanese and foreign postage stamps, and one day I found that there was a stamp on which a human face and a tiger were portrayed with the words of “MALAYA.” In my memory, I wondered where the stamp came from, and asked my parents. I then learned that the stamp was actually from the Federation of Malaya before the establishment of Malaysia, and this attracted my interest. When my visit to Malaysia was decided, I once again turned the page of my stamp album. Then, I found that stamp was released on 10th of June, 1960, the same year that I was born, and the person portrayed on that stamp was Colonel Sultan Sir Ismail, then Sultan of Johor. There were also stamps of other states such as Pahang and Selangor. Unfortunately, however, I could not find the stamps of the Perak state, where His Royal Highness Sultan Dr Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who is present here, is from.
It was then Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah, the father of His Royal Highness Sultan Dr Nazrin shah, who then as King of Malaysia, welcomed my parents, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, when they visited the country in 1991. During their stay, my parents were unable to visit Perak state as originally planned, and they regretted it so much. Therefore, later on they were very happy when they could finally meet Sultan Azlan shah as well as His Royal Highness Sultan Dr Nazrin shah in Perak in 2006. My parents also have happy memories about the University of Malaya which they visited twice. I remember that my parents talked to me of their fond memory of those visits as well as the meeting with His Majesty the King, and His Royal Highness Sultan Dr Nazrin shah. I feel very much honoured to stand here today, as I recall the history of exchanges among the Imperial Household of Japan, your University and the Royal House of Malaysia.
Our two countries established diplomatic relations on the 31st of August, 1957, the very same day the Federation of Malaya declared its independence. Since then, the friendly and cooperative relationship between our countries has been steadfast for sixty years. I know that Japan is one of the countries who enjoy the oldest and the longest bilateral ties to Malaysia. However, our people-to-people exchange was actually conducted in much earlier times in our history. Records show that the relationship between Japan and Malaysia dates back to trade ties between the Malacca Sultanate and the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 16th century. The Shogunate licensed ships trading in the 17th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, a number of Japanese people had visited and moved to live in Malaysia with regard to rubber production, iron ore mining and fisheries.
The bilateral relationship is now close in various areas such as the technological and the cultural spheres, as well as in the political and economic spheres. We cannot tell you enough the backdrop of such a friendly relationship without mentioning the Look East Policy, which was launched in 1982, as well as “Ambang Asuhan Jepun （アンバン・アスハン・ジュプン）, or “AAJ,”” the Special Preparatory Programme to enter Japanese universities of the University of Malaya, where this policy begins.
To date, over 4,000 students have left for Japan for their study from this University, whereas the number of the students who went to Japan in 1984 was only 39. As many as 16,000 talented Malaysian youths from all over Malaysia were dispatched to Japan as students and trainees. These Malaysians formed friendship with a number of Japanese in Japan, and have played a vital role in the development of Malaysia in wide-ranging areas after returning to Malaysia. This is very encouraging, and it has convinced me that they will greatly contribute to the advancement of mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries.
The number of Japanese people going to Malaysia to study is immensely increasing. As many as 1,600 Japanese studied in Malaysia in 2014. I am convinced that these students will not only devote their efforts to their own study, but also that they can learn a lot from the diversified society of Malaysia where various ethnic groups with different cultures and religions live together in harmony.
There should also be a great number of lessons that our two countries can learn from each other’s experience with regard to the issue of water as well as the disaster-prevention and disaster-reduction. In my keynote lecture of “The United Nations Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters” convened at the United Nations Headquarters two years ago, I mentioned the SMART tunnel in Kuala Lumpur, which I plan to visit during this trip. I am looking forward to this visit, as I know this is quite a unique facility in the world to deal with two different tasks at the same time; the alleviation of traffic congestion and flood drainage.
I sincerely hope that my visit to the University of Malaya here today becomes an opportunity to help promote the long-lasting solid bonds and ties between our two nations and peoples. It is our fervent hope that exchanges of scholars will be encouraged, researchers and students will reinvigorate scholastic advancement, and our two peoples; both in the world of academics and industry, public and private sectors, the young and the old, men and women, will all deepen and enrich friendships and cooperation for yet another 60 years and beyond.
Furthermore, I would like to express my sincere wishes that, to this end, both of our countries, located in East Asia, will further promote not only bilateral but also regional cooperation and contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the whole world, and that the people in both Japan and Malaysia, especially for the younger generation, will learn together through their exchanges and deepen further the mutual understanding and enhance cooperation..
I conclude my remarks, wishing that the foundation of the people-to-people exchanges between both our countries will become more solid, and then the bond of our friendship will be further deepened, on this occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Malaysia.
Terima Kasih （テリマ・カシ）