By Kondwani Magombo
Government on Saturday honoured the founding member of the Malawi Society of Japan (MSJ) Mitsumune Kaizuka for the society’s “diligent and lasting contribution to the socio-economic development initiatives of Malawi”.
Kaizuka was one of the first Japanese volunteers to be deployed to Malawi in 1971 through the Japanese Volunteer Programme to offer services to the Malawi Government and the people of Malawi in various areas.
Vice-President Everton Herbert Chimulirenji issued Certificate of Appreciation to Kaizuka (in absentia) on behalf of President Arthur Peter Mutharika at the 2019 Japan-Malawi Forum event held in Tokyo, Japan.
Chimulirenji said Malawi Government appreciates the contributions of the members of the MSJ who are mostly former volunteers deployed to the country under the Japanese Volunteers Overseas Cooperation (JOVC).
“Malawi is the largest beneficiary of the Japanese Volunteer Programme with 1,874 volunteers having contributed in various sectors in the country through skills, knowledge, and cultural exchange,” Chimulirenji said.
He further said the government appreciates the hard working spirit of the Japanese volunteers in Malawi over the years despite many challenges faced in the course of doing their work.
At the event, the Veep also interacted with Malawians studying or working in Japan.
He described them as ambassadors and urged them to utilise their interaction with the Japanese community to share the image of Malawi and to also consider investing back home.
“Government launched first ever diaspora engagement policy to provide a framework for practical platform for continuous engagement and seamless link between Malawians in diaspora and their homeland,” Chimulirenji said.
Former Japanese Ambassador to Malawi and MSJ Chairperson Motoyoshi Noro received the Malawi Government’s Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of Kaizuki who could not make it to the event “due to other pressing issues”.
Noro thanked the Malawi Government for the recognition of the services that the Japanese volunteers were doing in Malawi.
He appealed to his government to continue supporting Malawi in various ways to uplift people’s livelihoods and to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.
The Veep was in Japan attending the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) from August 28 to 30.
Meanwhile, the Vice-President arrives back in the country through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Sunday afternoon.