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Emperor's Birthday Celebrated in Seoul
Amb. Toshinori Shigeie Hosts National Day Reception
Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Toshinori Shigeie (ʫ) (3rd from left) poses with other dignitaries at its National Day reception held at a Seoul hotel on Dec. 10, 2009. To his right is President Terry (Tae-Lae) Yim of PowerOn Industry.

Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Toshinori Shigeie (ʫ) hosted a grand reception at Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on Dec. 10, 2009 on the occasion of its National Day, the birthday of the current Emperor Akihito, who was born on Dec. 23, 1933.

The birthday of the current emperor is always a national holiday. If the emperor changes, the national holiday changes to the birthday date of the new emperor.

Emperor Akihito (٥) is the 125th emperor according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.

The dinner reception attracted nearly 1,000 guests from almost all walks of life in South Korea.

Local politicians, government officials, news meida personalities, and other opinion leaders, as well as scores of top foreign envoys were invited to the buffet dinner.

Japanese Ambassador ul Toshinori Shigeie (ʫ) (left) poses with President Terry (Tae-Lae) Yim of PowerOn Industry at its National Day reception held at a Seoul hotel on Dec. 10, 2009.

Representing South Korean government, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan was also invited to the diplomatic gathering.

Amb. Shigeie, 64, came to Seoul in the August of 2007, replacing Shotaro Oshima.

Shigeie was serving as ambassador in charge of Okinawan affairs before coming to South Korea.

Once in Seoul Amb. Shigeie has been active in his diplomatic activities, making speeches at various gathering, taking care of the Japanese tourists killed in the fire at a shooting range in Pusan.

Amb. Shigeie has been emphasizing the cultural side of bilateral ties between Seoul and Tokyo.

At a recent university lecture, he pointed out the importance of both South Korea and Japan becoming "soft powers."

Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Toshinori Shigeie (ʫ)

During the lecture the Japanese envoy proposed a summit meeting of South Korean, Japanese, and Chinese leaders as a way of persuing common interests of East Asia.

At a recent gathering of South Korean and Japanese lawmakers held at the National Assembly he argued that overcoming nationalism is the key for mutual cooperation and co-prosperity in the East Asia region.

Shigeie also activating various culturals exchanges between Tokyo and Seoul.

Working holiday programs for the local South Koreans, Japanese language programs, and study in Japan programs are some of the programs he has been carrying out.

The Japanese envoy visited Gwangju City, South Jeolla Province on Feb. 23, 2009, meeting with its Mayor Park Gwang-Tae. He promised the mayor more and better bilateral exchanges of economy, culture, and hurman resources between Japan and the provincial city.

He also visited Mokpo City on the day.

"Japan Week" cultural introduction program has been introducted to such major provincial cities as Pusan, Kwangju, and Jeju annually.

But Shigeie added one more program to that.

Initiated under Shigeie's leadership "Japan Day" event has been introduced to many universities in Seoul and other areas, including Sookmyung Women's University and City University of Seoul.

Shigeie began his diplomatic career in 1969.

Previously, he served as ambassador to South Africa and as minister to the United States.

He assumed his ambassadorial position in August, 2005.

For details or inquiries please contact the Japanese Embassy in Seoul

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