19th March 2009

Japan provides 380 million Japanese Yen as food aid grant to the Maldives


25th January 2008

Japan Funds to improve Hithadhoo Regional Hospital in Add Atoll

          The Government of Japan has provided a sum of US $ 76,281 (approximately Maldive Rufiyaa 976,000) towards gThe Project for Reducing Burdens of Diseases in Rural Maldivesh. The Project will be implemented by the JICA Alumni Society of Maldives and will benefit the Hithadhoo Regional Hospital in Addu Atoll.

          The Hithadoo regional hospital is the only accessible regional hospital for many near islanders, and the number of in-patient and out-patient is the highest among the five regional hospitals in Maldives. However, patients have to make the tedious journey to the central hospital in Male when regional hospitals such as Hithadoo Regional Hospital are not able to meet their increasing medical needs due to lack of equipment and human resources.

         The Government of Japan is assisting the Hithadhoo Regional Hospital by providing pediatric and maternal medical equipment such as Pediatric Monitors and Infusion Pumps, a training on usage of those medical equipment, and an awareness program and prevention of non-communicable diseases. It is the hope of the Government of Japan that this assistance to the hospital would serve the population in and around Addu Atoll at the same level as the Central Hospital in Male and improve the health conditions of the region.

         The Government of Japan has extended assistance to Maldives for over 40 years in various sectors such as fishery, education, communication, and broadcasting, electricity, restoration from Tsunami disaster, ranging from grassroots level to large infrastructure level. The Construction of Seawall around Male was one such assistance while US$20 million has been provided for Tsunami rehabilitation in the affected islands. Japan has also provided wheat flour to the Maldives annually since 1981. Furthermore, the Construction of the Second Girls Secondary School in Male will also commence with Japanese assistance shortly.


Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations

The year 2007 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Maldives. To celebrate this landmark anniversary the following programs were organized by both countries.

  1. Television Team Invitation Program

The Japanese Government invited four members of the TV crew from the state TV station, Television Maldives in March 2007 on a tour of Japan and the team successfully produced a tele-feature entitled g10 days in Japanh and this was telecast over TV Maldives in four segments every Tuesday in May 2007. This TV program was a great opportunity for the Maldivian people to see and know about several parts of Japan in their own language Dhivehi and it helped them to understand and appreciate Japan, its people and culture.


       2. Commemorative Ceremony and Special Concert of Japanese Traditional Music

On the 7th November, 2007, the Government of Japan and the Maldivian Government jointly organized a commemorative Ceremony of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at Dharubaaruge (state function hall) in Male. Commemorative messages were exchanged between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan and President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Maldives as well as between Foreign Ministers, Mr. Masahiko Koumura of Japan and Mr. Abdulla Shahid of Maldives.

*PM Fukudafs Message
*FM Koumurafs Message
*Ambassador Arakifs commemorative speech

The ceremony was followed by a joint colourful cultural pageant featuring artists from Japan and the Maldives before an appreciative audience of over two hundred government officials, diplomats and Japanese nationals resident in the Maldives.

The Japanese cultural contribution at this cultural program featured a group of three talented musicians specially flown from Japan, Mr. T. Matsuda (Shamisen), Mr. A. Kominato (Shakuhachi) and Mr. N. Bihou (Wadaiko). They played six programs of Japanese traditional music including gAkatsukih (Dawn), which was especially composed for the celebration by the group. The Maldivian dance and music group performed several items at the cultural program.

The official commemorative celebration and the joint cultural program were also telecast over Television Maldives subsequently.

          Akatsuki, a traditional music piece               Exchange of performance by a Maldivian troupe
  with contemporary flavor in celebration                                                                              

       3. Ikebana (flower arrangement) and Origami (paper folding) workshops
The Japanese Government organized an Ikebana (flower arrangement) and Origami (paper folding) workshops which were conducted by Mrs. M. Jackson from Melbourne, Australia, who is an experienced Ikebana instructor (Ichiyo Shiki) and Origami specialist as well as a member of international organizations respectively.

The Ikebana workshop was mainly organized for a group of twenty ladies working for the Ministry for Youth & Sports Affairs while 35 school children from several primary and secondary schools in Male participated in the Origami workshop. All participants had enjoyed the workshops and had expressed their appreciation of their very first encounter with Japanese culture. Both of the programs were filmed by the TVM and telecast in the Maldives.


          Ikebana for ladies                                                                Origami for children           


      4. Nippon-Maldives Matsuri (Festival) 2007
JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers) Maldives and JICA-ASM (Alumni Association Maldives) jointly organized the Nippon-Maldives Matsuri, gfestivalh at Nasandra Palace Hotel in Male on 5th December, 2007 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as well as the 25th anniversary of JOCV program in Maldives. The Matsuri was organized two years in a row, with this yearfs, program under the themes of gMuch more fun!h and gFull of contemporary Japan!h had attracted many people who celebrated the anniversaries among JOCV members, JICA-ASM and their office colleagues as well as their family and friends.


Energetic but graceful song of                           "Try Yukata", cotton Kimono,           
     "Shimauta", "island Song" by                          demonstrated by Ms. M. Teraoka, JOCV  
Yukata-clad Ms. M. Kitajima and                                                                                                 
Ms. Y. Kato, JOCV








       5.Official Opening of Maldivian Embassy in Japan

While the year 2007 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Maldives, in May 2007 the Government of Maldives held its official opening of its embassy in Tokyo as the first ever Maldivian Embassy in East Asia. We hope that the friendly bilateral relations between the two countries will be further strengthened in the future as well.

Affinity between Japan and the Maldives appeared on Maldivian postage stamps

Maldives is a friendly country of Japan and this strong affinity of the Maldivian people has been grown over a long period of time through bilateral exchange particularly economic cooperation of Japan. As a reflection of friendly relations, the Maldivian Post Limited issued a commemorative stamp on the occasion of the wedding of the Crown Prince and Princess Masako in 1993. In the same year, the Maldivian Post also issued another commemorative stamp to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, which describes the presence of His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor Akihito, then Crown Prince, among several attendants to the ceremony representing various countries.

 Commemorative Stamp
(Courtesy of Maldives Post Limited)

Maldivian contribution to the international peace cooperation of Japan

Male international airport has served as a stopping point of transport aircraft of Japan Air Self-Defense Force which has been engaged in PKO in the Golan Heights, reconstruction cooperation for Iraq and others. The Male airport has accomplished a gross number of records of accepting 100 times of the transport aircraft on their outward and homeward journeys in the past ten years and is now an indispensable and important airport for the Japanese international peace cooperation.

 Japan Self Defense Force

Was Katsuo-bushi or dried-Bonito born in Maldives?

Maldivian people produce dried and smoked Bonito in various islands of Maldives and it is popular as Maldivian-fish in neighboring countries. It is quite similar to Japanese Katsuo-bushi and is an indispensable cooking ingredient for every meal in the Maldives. Maldivians do not usually shave the dried-bonito as Japanese do. They slice or grind it into small pieces and mix it with curry or soup. The fresh and good Bonito flavor makes Japanese feel the close affinity between Japan and Maldives.

There are some records about dried bonito which were produced in Maldives and exported to other counties in the first half 14th century. This coincided with the time of the late Kamakura Period and the beginning of the Nanboku-cho Period, or conflicting time inside the Imperial Family between Nara and Kyoto in Japan. There are some records of ghard fishh and gcooked hard fishh of bonito of the times in Japan, but gKatsuo-bushih is not recorded. The first gKatsuo-bushih is recorded some one hundred years later in the time of late Muromachi Period (1392-1573). Maldives was a key hub of the Silk Road route in the sea and trade ships of various countries made many visit there in the first half of the 14th century. The first record of gKatsuo-bushih was found in the Tanegashima Island of the South-west islands of Japan. There is a theory that a processing method of gKatsuo-bushih was first introduced in Maldives and might have passed along to the Kingdom of Ryukyu, current Okinawa Prefecture in the south-west of Japan, which flourished with trade with China and the South-east Asian counties then, and spread all over Japan later on.


Seawall and breakwater construction work and Tsunami

As Maldives has been facing threats such as flooding by high tidal waves and coastal erosion caused by rising sea level and abnormal weather, Japan assisted Maldives in constructing a seawall and breakwater around the capital island of Male through its Grant Aid Assistance program for over 15 years after 1987. Maldives was damaged by the tsunami disaster in December 2004. The capital island of Male, however, has not been directly damaged by the tsunami due to the seawall and breakwater and escaped devastating losses. The protection work of the capital has contributed very much for the smooth related aid activities and reconstruction program afterward and the project has been cited as a successful example of Japanfs Official Development Assistance (ODA). In recognition and appreciation of the general support and assistance extended to Maldives by Japan, the Government of Maldives has officially conferred gFehifaiyh (Green Leaf) National Environmental Award to the people of Japan in June 2006. It was a great honor for Japan to have been the first foreign nation as a whole to receive the award.

 Sea Wall  Gren Leaf Award
                    Sea Wall                                gFehifaiyh  Green Leaf Award