KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's strong ties with Japan had long been forged, even before the Independence of Malaysia.
Although diplomatic ties between the two nations only started in 1957, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa said the son of the 51st Emperor of Japan had come to the country over one millennium ago.
"Our diplomatic relations was established in 1957, but according to some records which I happened to encounter recently, the third son of the 5lst Emperor, who became a disciple of one highly renowned Buddhist monk in Japan, was already in Johor in the year 862, some 1,200 years ago."
Miyagawa was speaking during the 82nd birthday celebration of the Japanese Emperor Akihito here last night.
Guests were entertained by Japanese musicians AUN J Classic Orchestra, who performed several songs to the attendees including Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo and Negaraku using traditional Japanese musical instruments.
A brass band from Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre also offered everyone in the hall several Japanese marches, all composed by Japanese musicians.
Sumptuous and mouth-watering delicacies were served during the celebration including Sushi, Okonomiyaki, Prawn Tempura, Dim Sum, Satay and Roast Beef.
"On this occasion, the entire Japan also celebrates its very long history, well over 2,000 years under the continuous reign of our Imperial Throne, and this glorious history.
"His Majesty was born on the 23rd of December, 1933, and succeeded to the Imperial Throne on January 7, 1989 as the 125th Emperor of Japan, with a straight blood link all through from the last Emperor," said Miyagawa.
He said the reception also acted as an opportunity to reaffirm the cordial bond and friendship which have linked Malaysia and Japan together for many years.
"As Ambassador of Japan, I must express immense admiration with gratitude to all those who have exerted themselves for it. Our two nations, and our two peoples, ancestors and posterity alike, owe them a great deal.
"This year is a pivotal year for Malaysia, once in a decade chairing Asean, now forming a community. Besides leaders’ and ministerial meetings, the youth also assembled and discussed the future in this region.
Miyagawa said with Japanese investment ranked the highest for many years both in Malaysia and in Asean, the Look East Policy flourishing, and the security co-operation expanding, the continued close friendship between the two countries would only grow stronger.
"Our industries would be pleased to join in the enhanced engagement in the development of Malaysia in its efforts to advance high technology and to expand service industries.
Present as the guest of honour was Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.