Department of Foreign Relations
Kurdistan Regional Government
TUE, 18 JUN 2019 04:43 Erbil, GMT +3
Source: KRG-DFR DFR publication date: WED, 19 DEC 2018 11:02
A Statement delivered by the Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), Minister Falah Mustafa on the occasion of the birthday celebration of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan - 18 December, 2018


Ministers, Members of Parliament, Governors,
Representatives of Political Parties,
The Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto,
Head of the Consular Office of Japan, Mr. Katsumi Moriyasu,
Dean and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Japanese Friends and Friends of Japan,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening to you all.

I am very happy to be here this evening to celebrate the 85th birthday of 125th Emperor of Japan, His Majesty Emperor Akihito. I would like to thank the Ambassador of Japan in Iraq, and the Head of the Consular Office in Kurdistan for hosting such a friendly and welcoming birthday celebration!

It is a pleasure to attend this celebration as it serves to remind us that we are united through our desire to celebrate life’s milestones and achievements.

On behalf of the KRG, I would like to thank Japan for the attention and commitment it has shown to Kurdistan throughout the years.

In 2008 Japan nominated its Honorary Consul in Erbil. Presently, we enjoy having the active presence of the Consular Office of Japan in Erbil. We have also had the honor of welcoming highly esteemed Japanese officials, such as Japan’s Former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who now serves as the Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan.

Significant contributions have been made to augment relations between Japan and Kurdistan. We are also fortunate to benefit from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA plays an indispensable role in supporting developing countries through regional initiatives such as its water supply improvement and sewerage construction projects.

Japan has also provided assistance through UNDP in the form of institutionalization of capacity building for crisis management. This focused on developing know-how, drafting framework for action, providing IT equipment and strengthening human resources development.

We also benefit from the assistance of other Japanese institutions and NGOs, such as Peace Winds Japan that has been here since the 1990s. They have helped to alleviate the suffering of many IDPs and refugees residing in Kurdistan. We all appreciate the value of Japan’s friendship and cooperation.

I would like to take a moment to share with you my favourite Japanese proverb: “friends are known first in hardship, a friend is known in adversity, like gold is known in fire”. This has never been truer or more compelling than in recent years.

Despite the hurdles and the obstacles that we have faced, Kurdistan has not walked alone in darkness. The efforts of Japan to provide assistance to Kurdistan in the sectors of electricity, water, hydropower and horticulture should not be overlooked.

A country that is committed to bettering the circumstances of its peers is one that values the importance of fostering stability and contributing to global security and peace. I would also like to thank the people and government of Japan for providing critical humanitarian assistance to IDPs and refugees in times of great need.


There are lessons for us in Japan’s remarkable recovery after the devastation of the Second World War. Having been the victim of war and seen its major cities devastated, Japan embarked on what was to be known as the Economic Miracle.

Through the decades, Japan has spearheaded innovation and technological advancement.
This is despite the fact that Japan suffered a great deal. Blazing trails in areas of recycling, transport, and android robots!

Japan has given the world many wonderful things to admire and to enjoy, such as Sushi, Sony and the tea ceremony. I am truly excited to see what new initiatives Japan will introduce in the near future!

However, perhaps what I have come to admire most in Japanese culture is the express emphasis of manners before knowledge. Japan values the principle of respect for others, the good of the community over oneself, and the sense of pride in one’s work no matter how high or low the rank or job.

Cultural respect and education play a fundamental role in Japanese society. This is ingrained in Japanese schools where teachers and children share the responsibility of cleaning their classroom.

Thus, these qualities shape the Japanese community and its progression. These principles and values have been shared with us. Our Japanese partners have generously renovated 107 schools in Kurdistan since 2003.

Much like the Japanese, the people of Kurdistan are also hospitable and place great importance on respect. Kurdistan equally appreciates the decisive influence of education and youth empowerment when investing in its future.

We remain committed to developing and implementing innovative reform to improve lives and livelihoods. We continue to make significant progress on this. So that we may learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Next year we celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Japan-Iraq diplomatic relations, we aspire to further expand our ties. We have learned, now more than ever, the significant and positive impact of forging strong bonds with Japan.

We are determined to maintain this momentum. We wish the government and the people of Japan continued success and good fortune. I hope that you all enjoy this wonderful event, and I wish His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Japan a happy birthday.

Falah Mustafa meets Canada Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director for Iraq and Syria
WED, 22 MAY 2019 12:47

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Ms. Pegatha Taylor, the Deputy Director for Iraq and Syria at Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Minister Falah Mustafa on May 20th, to review the latest political developments and her country’s commitment to Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Minister Falah Mustafa meets with outgoing Deputy Head of IOM Iraq Mission
WED, 22 MAY 2019 11:45

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Minister Falah Mustafa received Ms. Barbara Rijks, Deputy Head of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the occasion of the completion of her tour of duty on May 20th.

Prime Minister Barzani meets Patriarch of Assyrian Church of the East
TUE, 21 MAY 2019 11:12

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, and his accompanying delegation that included bishops from other countries.



Minister Falah Mustafa receives incoming Swiss Ambassador Lukas Gasser and his delegation

FRI, 31 MAY 2019 13:49

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Minister Falah Mustafa received Ambassador Lukas Gasser, Switzerland’s ambassador to Iraq, resident in Amman, and his accompanying delegation on his first visit to the Kurdistan Region.


Assistant Head of DFR Siham Mamand meets Czech Consul General to Kurdistan Region

FRI, 31 MAY 2019 12:03

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Ms. Siham Mamand, Assistant Head of the Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), had a good exchange of views on May 30th with Mr. Michal Svoboda, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Erbil.


Minister Falah Mustafa meets outgoing Belgian Ambassador Hendrik Velde

THU, 30 MAY 2019 10:39

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Minister Falah Mustafa received on May 28th Ambassador Hendrik Van de Velde, Belgium’s envoy to Jordan and Iraq, to bid him farewell as his tenure in the region comes to an end.

Minister Falah Mustafa meets EU Ambassador to Iraq, Ramon Blecua

WED, 29 MAY 2019 20:15

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq ( – Minister Falah Mustafa met with the European Union's Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Ramon Blecua and discussed the role of the EU in promoting security and peace and humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced persons in the liberated areas.