It is a great pleasure to receive this visit from Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, on the occasion of the celebration of 120 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Brazil.
His Highness Prince Akishino had already honored us with a visit in 1988, when together we celebrated 80 years of Japanese immigration into Brazil.
This year, among the various activities commemorating our 120 years of friendship, his zoological and ornithological studies are to be published in Brazil.
Over more than a century, Brazil and Japan have built a very important relationship, which has always had a human dimension at its very heart.
In 1908, the first group of Japanese emigrants to Brazil set off from Kobe, arriving almost two months later at the port of Santos. Japanese immigration brought a valuable contribution to the development and progress of Brazilian society – a contribution reflected here today by the presence of Brazilians of Japanese origin.
The coming together of our nations led, decades later, to Brazilians emigrating to Japan. Many of them were themselves of Japanese ancestry. The Brazilian community in Japan has made a significant contribution to strengthening of relations between Brazil and Japan.
In Brazil we are very proud to have the largest Japanese community outside Japan. And we value the fact that Japan is home to the third largest Brazilian community outside Brazil.
Your Imperial Highnesses,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Looking at the 120 years of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Japan, we can take stock of great achievements.
Upon those human foundations we have built a close and dynamic economic relationship.
Our bilateral economic relationship has strengthened over time, with an increase in the flows of Japanese investment and in the number of projects in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
An example that illustrates very well our ability to exploit the potential of partnership is the creation of the Japanese-Brazilian digital TV system. The fruit of a synergy of efforts in the arena of high-technology, this system has now been adopted across almost all of South America and also in countries in Central America, Africa and Asia, with clear economic benefits for our companies.
On the political plane we are also united by strong ties, based on common values such as democracy, the defense of human rights, environmental sustainability, and the defense of multilateralism. Our bilateral proximity on international issues is expressed clearly and eloquently in joint actions within the ambit of the G4, alongside
Germany and India, which aims to promote the reform of the UN Security Council and adapt it to reality and the challenges of the twenty-first century.
The happy circumstance that Brazil and Japan will be the hosts of the next two Olympic Games – this year in Rio de Janeiro, and in 2020 in Tokyo – is another factor contributing to the convergence of interests and views between our countries.
As we look ahead, we see the conditions are ripe for the Brazil-Japan relationship to become even closer and even more dynamic. This realization has led us to promote our diplomatic relations to the status of a Global Strategic Partnership.
The visit of Your Imperial Highnesses to Brazil is a symbolic milestone at this moment of renewal in the relations between our countries. It greatly honors, delights and stimulates us.
In December, President Dilma Rousseff will make a visit to Japan, determined that this opportunity will open up new avenues of cooperation and partnership.
In the spirit of celebrating the history of a great friendship, I propose a toast to the health of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, and to the present and future relationship between Brazil and Japan.
In the light of the special relations that unite our two countries, allow me also to ask everyone to join me in drinking to the health of Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.