Crown Prince Naruhito grants Japanese residents, volunteers audience

LAILI ISMAIL


KUALA LUMPUR: Japanese residents and volunteers in Malaysia were granted an audience with Crown Prince Naruhito on the third day of his official visit here.

During the meet and greet session, 22 members of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and 20 community leaders, were invited to the official residence of Japan’s Ambassador Dr Makio Miyagawa.

Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur (JCKL) president Kenji Ohta, 53, described the Crown Prince as an attentive leader whom “the vast majority of Japanese people support and admire”.

Ohta said he shared with the Crown Prince activities conducted by JCKL which has been centred on cultural exchange.

“I told him that we hold a very popular annual autumn festival which draws 30,000 to 35,000 people every time, as well as our yearly charity bazaar which has been going on for 44 years now.

“I hope with his first official visit, the Look East policy will get a second boost as we have about 16,000 Malaysian exchange students who have gone to Japan since the policy was first implemented,” he added.

Senior volunteer Masayoshi Honda, 67, who will be stationed in Kuching, Sarawak to educate the public on river health and environmental quality, said he was honoured to be granted an audience with the Crown Prince.

“I was nervous and excited to meet him but he was a very good listener so speaking to him about what I do here in Malaysia was a pleasant experience,” he said.

Naruhito who is the eldest son of Emperor Akihito began his day today by visiting the Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur (JSKL) where he was welcomed by principal Miyatani Shinichiro and hundreds of students including five student representatives.

He also had a short discussion with Shinichiro on the school’s education system as well as the focus on English and the welfare of the 800 students.

The Crown Prince then attended a luncheon with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya. The event also saw a choir recital as well as dance and music performances by the children of Permata Seni and local artistes.

After the luncheon, the Crown Prince then visited the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART Tunnel) Control Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

This maiden visit of Naruhito, who is first in line to the Chrysanthemum throne, has been the highlight of the 60th anniversary of Malaysia and Japan’s diplomatic relations.