My impression about Nigeria changed when I arrived – Envoy
scholarships, the number of Nigerian beneficiaries is increasing. We have a lot of successful examples. The current Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Prof. Mohammed Gana Yisa, is one of the beneficiaries.
Do you have similar opportunities for training officials in the private sector?
The scholarship programme is opened to all. JICA training programme is open to officials in both the public and private sectors. The Ministry of Education’s scholarship is specifically for students, while JICA programme and ABE Initiative are open to all. There is no clear distinction. In addition, Japanese private companies have a lot of training programmes in which they train people on technical areas.
Is there any cooperation in film production between both countries?
The film industry is a promising sector. At this moment, there is no such thing as solid cooperation between the two countries.
Firstly, I will like to increase the awareness in Japan about Nollywood, and vice versa. I will also like to explore the opportunity for Nigerians to know more about Japanese films. Recently, we had Japanese an animated film festival in collaboration with the French Embassy and Asian film festival with other Asian countries in Abuja. I will like to explore any opportunity in Lagos to talk about collaboration with Nollywood films.
Two years to Tokyo 2020 Olympics, what are the preparations so far?
Japan’s preparation was highly recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and I will say more than 60 per cent preparation is already done. We don’t only put physical facilities in place, but also have Japanese volunteers.
Recently, the IOC chair visited Japan and was very much impressed about Japan’s preparedness. Only recently, I hosted a dinner for Nigeria’s LOC Chairman, Mr. Abu Gumel, and he had a good impression about Japan’s preparedness for the Tokyo Olympics.
The only issue remaining between Nigeria and Japan is the training of athletes. We have a kind of training programme where we send Nigerian athletes to Japan and invite Japanese sports coaches to Nigeria.
How would you like Nigerians to remember you at the end of your duty tour?
I would like Nigerians to remember Japan, not the Japanese Ambassador; that in Nigeria, there is Japan. Like I told you earlier, I would like Nigerians to see Japan as a credible partner.