南半球便り <その5> 天皇誕生日レセプション(2021年3月11日)

南半球便り

<その5>
天皇誕生日レセプション(2021年3月11日)

山上大使のスピーチ
山上大使のスピーチ

本記事の内容は、在オーストラリア日本国大使館ウェブサイトより転載。他の号は下記より確認可能。
Web: www.au.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/bilateral_official_visits_jp.html

一年で最も大事な行事

 少し旧聞に属しますが、2月25日に大使公邸で行った天皇誕生日レセプションについて、ご報告します。大使館をはじめとする在外公館にとって、数ある行事のうちで何よりも大事なのが、この天皇誕生日レセプションです。どの国にも、「ナショナル・ディ」(独立記念日等)を祝う式典がありますが、日本にとっては天皇誕生日レセプションがそれにあたるからです。

 豪州政府の閣僚・次官クラスの要人のみならず、議員、軍人、財界人、主要ジャーナリスト、第三国の大使クラス等が集い、また、在留邦人の方々も参加されます。天皇誕生日を盛大にお祝いすることはもちろん、関係者による常日頃の日豪関係増進の尽力に対して深い謝意を表すとともに、豪州で「日本」を売り込む絶好の機会となります。

コロナ禍の中での決行

 当然のことながら、今年は実施するかどうか、随分と議論をしました。最終的には、キャンベラの所在する首都地域(ACT)において新規市中感染者が7ヶ月も発生していなかったこと、ACTの規則によれば屋外を活用して「セィフティ・ディスタンス」をとれば500人までのレセプション行事が認められていたこと等を踏まえ、豪州政府外務貿易省とも密接に相談しつつ、実施することとしました。

 その代わり、コロナ予防策には万全を期しました。(1)各所に消毒液を配置、入口での体温測定(2)食事は予め盛り分けてサーブ、(3)レシービング・ラインで来客を迎えて挨拶する大使夫妻、防衛駐在官夫妻はマスク着用、(4)式典でのスピーチは来客から離れた公邸ベランダ上から実施、といった諸施策を講じました。

大成功

 結論から言えば、開催して大成功でした。事前の予想を遙かに上回る350名近くの方が出席され、館員夫妻と予定の時間を越えて和やかに歓談していただくことができました。多くの出席者の方から、「コロナ禍でこのような親密な行事がなくて物足りなく思っていたところ、日本が敢行してくれた。タイムリーで実に良かった。」と好意的な評価が多数寄せられました。

 手前味噌になるかもしれませんが、持てるものを全て活用して日本らしいおもてなしをすることができました。例えば、

(1)庭の活用

 キャンベラの公邸には手入れの行き届いた美しい日本庭園があります。庭園を開放し、公邸の建物に招客が集中しないようご案内し、「三密」を回避しました。季節が南半球では夏であったこと、また、当日朝は停電さえ発生するような激しい雷雨であったにもかかわらず、夕方のレセプション時にはさわやかな「日本晴れ」になった天候も幸いしました。

公邸の日本庭園
公邸の日本庭園
(2)和食メニュー

 日本大使公邸に来られる招客は、日本食に期待しています。そこで、立食でも食べやすい日本食(冷やしうどん、海老天ぷら、寿司、牛丼、和牛ステーキ、どら焼き)をそれぞれ数百人分も小形料理人をはじめとするチーム・ジャパンで用意し、お客様に振る舞い、大好評でした。
 言うまでもなく、お酒は、昨今、困難に直面している豪州ワインをふんだんにサーブしました。

(3)民・官連携

 心強かったのは、民間の各方面から誠に強力な援軍が得られたことです。例えば、茨城の一品酒造さんは、私が警察官時代に馴染んでいた茨城の銘酒を、matchamatchaさんからは大人気の抹茶ソフトクリームを出していただきました。キリン、アサヒ、サントリー、伊藤園さんからも各種飲料をご提供頂いたのは、有り難い限りです。
 さらには、本田、マツダ、三菱、日産、トヨタ、いすゞ各社からは話題の最新モデルの自動車等を公邸庭に陳列いただき、誠に壮観でした。日本の自動車産業のバラエティと技術力を強く印象づけた模様です。
 公邸内では、全日空、日本航空、JR東海、富士通、日立、ダイキン、ヤマハ発動機各社からも趣向を凝らした出品をいただきました。
 これらにとどまらず、要人が集まる機会にインプットすべく、話題のHE(水素プロジェクト)やクエスタコン・JAXAによる「はやぶさ1&2」のモデル陳列、JNTOによる日本観光紹介、新潟長岡市・群馬県による観光パンフレット配布、さらには東京オリンピック・パラリンピックのぬいぐるみ陳列など、関係団体・企業のご協力により、間口と奥行きの深い日本紹介ができたのではないかと考えています。

展示コーナー(はやぶさ1&2)
展示コーナー(はやぶさ1&2)
展示コーナー(JNTO)
展示コーナー(JNTO)
(4)着物

 実は、改めて威力を痛感したのが日本女性の着物でした。館員夫人をはじめとする10人以上もの和装の女性が艶やかな着物で蝶のように会場を動き回るにつれ、賛辞と感嘆の声に包まれていました。せっかくお気に入りのポール・スチュアートのスーツで格好を付けたつもりでいたのに、旧知の豪州人女性から、「着物と比べると、色あせるわよね。」と言われたのは、悲しくも嬉しい反応でした。

(5)スピーチ

 来客を代表してデービッド・ギレスピー下院議員(豪日議連会長)から日本への温かい思いとユーモアのこもったご挨拶をいただき、大変感謝しております。
 私からは、「外務省の人間の話は、いつも三拍子そろっている(長く、くどく、うざい)。」と屡々言われてきたことを意識して、出来るだけ短く、かつ、ジョークを交え、新任の大使として、つたない挨拶(www.au.emb-japan.go.jp/files/100157009.pdf)をいたしました。長年にわたって日豪両国間の「信頼」を築き上げて来られた業績に対する敬意と感謝の念を込めて、あえて例示的にいくつかの個別具体的な企業名に言及し、スポットライトを当てさせていただいた次第です。

ギレスピー豪日議連会長と山上大使夫妻
ギレスピー豪日議連会長と山上大使夫妻
(左から)ウォーレン・エンチ連邦議員、山上大使夫人、スーザン・リー環境大臣、山上大使、古谷公使
(左から)ウォーレン・エンチ連邦議員、山上大使夫人、スーザン・リー環境大臣、山上大使、古谷公使

最後に

 上述のコロナによる人数制限のため、本年はお招きしたかった全ての方にお声がけすることが、残念ながらできませんでした。次の機会に是非お招きしたく、何とぞご理解のほど、宜しくお願い申し上げます。

在オーストラリア日本国大使 山上信吾

やまがみしんご
東京大学法学部卒業後、1984年外務省入省。コロンビア大学大学院留学。茨城県警本部警務部長という異色の経歴を経て在英国日本国大使館公使、国際法局審議官、総合外交政策局審議官(政策企画・国際安全保障担当大使)、日本国際問題研究所所長代行を歴任後、17年国際情報統括官、18年経済局長。20年12月、在豪日本大使に着任。


News from under the Southern Cross

Edition 5
The Emperor’s Birthday Reception (2021/3/11)

Ambassador delivering his speech
Ambassador delivering his speech

The Most Important Event of the Year

This is now a tad dated, however I wanted to report on the Emperor’s Birthday Reception that took place at the Ambassador’s Residence on the 25th of February. Among the myriad of events that the Embassy engages in as a diplomatic institution abroad, the most important of these is the Emperor’s Birthday Reception. All nations have ceremonies to mark their “national day” (such as independence days etc.), and in the case of Japan, it is the Emperor’s Birthday Reception.

The reception is attended by not only Australian federal cabinet ministers and departmental executives including those at the secretary level, but brings together members of parliament, members of the Australian and other militaries, business community representatives, renowned journalists, ambassadors and dignitaries from various nations, as well as members of the Japanese community. While its principle concern is a celebration of His imperial Majesty the Emperor’s birthday, the reception provides an ideal opportunity to express a deep appreciation to all those engaged in advancing the Japan-Australia relationship on a day-to-day basis and to promote the brand of ‘Japan’ in Australia.

Getting Things Underway in the Midst of COVID-19

As you would expect, there was considerable discussion and debate about whether to hold the reception this year. In the end, given that the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), in which Canberra resides, had not experienced any new locally acquired infections for seven months, and that the ACT government’s own protocols permit the holding of a reception so long as it takes place outdoors, maintains ‘social distancing’ and is limited to 500 guests, a decision was made to go ahead with the reception while keeping in close contact with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In light of this decision, the Embassy proceeded to implement its COVID-19 prevention strategy in full. This consisted of a variety of mitigation measures, including (1) placing hand sanitizer stations at various locations around the Residence grounds and having guests’ temperatures checked at the entrance gate, (2) service of food in the form of appetizers, distributed by wait staff using utensils (3) the use of masks by Ambassador and Madam Yamagami and the Defence Attaché and his wife while meeting guests on the receiving line, and (4) having speeches performed from the balcony of the Ambassador’s Residence during the ceremony, thus maintaining an appropriate distance from guests.

A Great Success

In the end, the reception was a great success. Close to 330 guests attended, which considerably surpassed the number of expected attendees, and members of the diplomatic staff and their spouses were able to engage in pleasant conversation beyond the planned time. Many of those who attended provided a favourable evaluation of the event, saying “Just when I thought that COVID-19 meant that we weren’t going to be able to hold these sorts of convivial events and what a shame it was, Japan came through with the goods. It was both timely and enjoyable”.

While I might be blowing my own horn here a bit, the Embassy was able to make the full use of its resources and offer the best of Japanese hospitality. For example;

(1) Use of the Garden

The Ambassador’s Residence in Canberra possesses a beautiful, accessible Japanese garden. By opening up the Garden and requesting guests not to congregate within the buildings of the Residence, we were able to avoid the “3 Cs” (closed spaces, crowds, and close contact). Despite the fact that it was in summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and the appearance of a fierce storm on the morning of the reception which resulted in a temporary blackout, by the time the reception began in the evening we were blessed with gentle ‘clear Japanese weather’, which was indeed fortunate.

Japanese garden at the Ambassador’s residence
Japanese garden at the Ambassador’s residence
(2) A Menu of Japanese Cuisine

Guests who visit the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence expect to dine on Japanese cuisine. To that end, Chef Ogata and the members of “Team Japan” prepared hundreds of individual portions of Japanese dishes that can be enjoyed while standing-up (Udon noodles in cold broth, Prawn Tempura, Sushi, Gyudon, Wagyu Steak, and Dorayaki). These dishes were distributed among the guests and were very well received. And of course in relation to drinks, heaps of Australian wines, which have experienced some difficulties as of late, were served to guests.

(3) Linking together Government and Private Industry

What particularly struck me were the strong reinforcements provided by various members of the private sector. For example, one of the principle Saké breweries of Ibaraki Prefecture, Ippin Shuzo, provided a well-known saké blend that was a favourite of mine during my time as a police officer there. The ice creamery matchamatcha also provided a Matchaflavoured soft serve ice cream that proved very popular. I am also indebted to Kirin, Asahi, Suntory, and Itoen for providing us with many varieties of beverages.
I was also treated to the spectacle of the newest models of vehicles manufactured by Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Isuzu lined up in the grounds of the Residence. This left a strong impression of both the variety and technological capabilities of Japan’s automobile manufacturers.
Within the Residence itself, ANA, JAL, JR Tokai, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Daimon and Yamaha Motors all provided fascinating examples of their products.

Not only this, and based on consultations with relevant stakeholders, exhibits such as the much-vaunted HE (Hydrogen Project), models of ‘Hayabusa No.1 and No.2’ provided by JAXA and Questacon, Japan promotion material provided by JNTO and tourism brochures from Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture and Gunma Prefecture, as well as plush toys celebrating the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, were displayed through the cooperation of relevant groups and corporations. I believe that these provided both a broad and deep introduction to Japan.

(4) Kimono

Honestly speaking, I was yet again greatly moved by the kimono worn by Japanese women. Over 10 women, including the wives of diplomatic staff, were bedecked in these brilliant Japanese fabrics, and flitted about the Residence grounds like so many butterflies to be met with exclamations of delight from attendees. I myself wore my favourite Paul Stuart suit, hoping it may appear very smart. However after being told by a long-time female Australian friend that “Compared to a kimono, it’s pretty plain”, “You pale”, I sadly accepted this fact but was glad for the reaction that the kimono produced.

Display (Hayabusa 1 & 2 satellites by Questacon and JAXA)
Display (Hayabusa 1 & 2 satellites by Questacon and JAXA)
Display (JNTO)
Display (JNTO)
(5) Speeches

I am profoundly grateful to our Guest of Honour, the Hon. Dr David Gillespie MP (Chair of the Japan-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group) for giving a speech imbibed with warm feelings towards Japan and generous doses of humour. As for myself, I was acutely aware of the fact that it is often said that “speeches by staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are a combination of three things – long, repetitious, and annoying”. Hence as a newly appointed ambassador I humbly delivered a speech that was as brief as possible, to the point, and interspersed with jokes (see attached file). As an expression of my feelings of gratitude and respect towards achievements made over many years, achievements which have built the trust existing between Japan and Australia, I decided to give mention to a number of companies and specific examples of their achievements.


Ambassador and Mrs Yamagami with Hon. Dr David Gillespie MP (Chair of the Japan-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group)
From Left:Hon Warren Entsch MP, Mrs Yamagami, Hon Susan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, Ambassador Yamagami, Minister Furuya
From Left:Hon Warren Entsch MP, Mrs Yamagami, Hon Susan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, Ambassador Yamagami, Minister Furuya

In closing As a consequence of the limits on attendee numbers because of COVID-19, unfortunately I was not able to invite everyone whom I wanted to this year’s reception. I very much look forward to extending an invitation to all and sundry once the opportunity avails itself, and humbly ask for your understanding in the interim.

YAMAGAMI Shingo – Ambassador of Japan to Australia

YAMAGAMI Shingo
Upon graduating from the University of Tokyo, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1984. He also studied at the Graduate School of Columbia University. His overseas assignment includes Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Geneva and London. After being seconded to the National Police Agency and the Japan Institute of International Affairs, he assumed the role of Director-General of the Intelligence and Analysis Service and then Director-General of the Economic Affairs Bureau. In December 2020, he was dispatched to Canberra as Ambassador to Australia.

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日豪プレス 配布場所      日豪プレス 新刊発行    Oishii Japanese Restaurant Guide Covid-19 最新情報

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