Dili, April 12, 2024

In a warm display of friendship and cooperation, President J. Ramos-Horta welcomed the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Ship MURASAME and its commander, Navy Captain Kawano Kunihiko, to Dili on April 12, 2024.

Speaking at a reception hosted by Japanese Ambassador Tetsuya Kimura, President Ramos-Horta expressed Timor-Leste’s gratitude for Japan’s longstanding support, saying “At our darkest moments, Japan was an unwavering partner.” He highlighted Japan’s crucial role in restoring peace and stability in Timor-Leste starting in 1999, including hosting the first donor conference that pledged over $520 million in aid.

The president noted that Japan remains one of Timor-Leste’s top development partners, with recent agreements to further elevate the bilateral relationship. This includes expanded cooperation in areas such as human resources development, infrastructure, economic diversification, maritime safety, and defense.

“Our shared values are deeply rooted in democracy, individual freedoms, respect for human rights and the rule of law,” Ramos-Horta said. “The relationship between our two countries continues to grow, and we will remain close partners and friends, striving together to enhance multilateral institutions and international law, and contributing to global peace.”

In a display of Timorese hospitality, the president assured the Japanese guests that they were “at home” in Timor-Leste, and would be provided with better food and shelter than the locals typically enjoy. He invited the Japanese naval personnel to stay as long as they wished.

The visit of the MURASAME ship is seen as another milestone in the deepening partnership between Timor-Leste and Japan, two countries united by shared democratic values and a commitment to regional peace and prosperity.

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