Decoration Ceremony by the Government of Japan

Remarks by Ritter Diaz, Former Ambassador of Panama to Japan on the Occasion of the Decoration Ceremony at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on November 28, 2019.

H.E. Mr. Keisuke Suzuki, State Minister for Foreign Affairs

H.E. Mr. Tomoyuki Yoshida, Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean

Dear Family and staff of the Embassy of Panama

23 years ago, I came to Japan to study a master’s degree in international political economy under the sponsorship of Mombukagakusho. Thanks to the support of the Japanese government and people, I received not only a great education, but also an opportunity to work at the Embassy of Panama to Japan.

My knowledge and experience about Japan helped me to assist several ambassadors of Panama to enhance our relationship with this great country. Later on, in 2014, I was appointed Ambassador of Panama to Japan, which allowed me to further deepen the relationship between our two nations.

As a result of my work as ambassador, I managed to Increase the level of political and diplomatic relationship between Japan and Panama. Today, we have more than 60 members of parliament who belong to the Panama Japan Inter parliamentary League, from the 14 members when I started my tour of duty.

Moreover, we had 22 official visits from Panama to Japan and over 20 official visits from Japan to Panama, including two visits of the President and Vice President of Panama, marking a historical record of visits between the two countries.

Also, I worked diligently with my Japanese counterparts to achieve the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation for the financing and building of Line 3 of the Metro of Panama, which has become a model of MOU for cooperation in projects of transport infrastructure.

On the academic level, I was instrumental in the establishment of the first international academic agreement between Chiba University and the universities of Panama and Technological University of Panama in the field of Controlled Environment Agriculture.

From this agreement, more than 25 Panamanian students have received training in Japan and over 20 Japanese students have been able to carry academic research in Panama. I also promoted an international exchange agreement between Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua, our catholic university, and Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.

In view of the promotion of these international academic agreements, I was awarded an honorary doctor degree by Chiba University.

Today, the government of Japan is recognizing all these efforts by granting me the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, which I received with humility and the highest sense of gratitude for the government and people of Japan.

Rest assured that from my new endeavors in the private sector, I will continue to promote the good relations between Panama and Japan, and when necessary, please do not hesitate to contact me to serve that noble purpose.

To my wife, Ayana, and to the staff of the Embassy of Panama to Japan, I wish to convey my deepest gratitude for all the support I received from them during my term as Ambassador of Panama to Japan. Without them, I would not have achieved so many results.

Again, to the government of Japan, my profound thankfulness for the high distinction conferred upon me in this day when Panama celebrates 198 years of independence from Spain.

Thank you very much.

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