Felex Share in TOKYO, Japan
President Robert Mugabe — who is here on an official working visit — has a packed programme for the next three days with more than 13 engagements with Japanese government officials and several companies awaiting him.
The companies are angling to invest in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe’s visit, which is at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is an elaboration of the government’s Look East Policy.
The Asian economic giant is seeking to develop new markets in Zimbabwe while PM Abe also wants a robust discussion with President Mugabe on the United Nations Security Council reforms.
The President begins the day with a State call on his Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, before meeting with the president of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), a government entity that promotes mutual trade and investment between the Asian nation and the rest of the world.
Emperor Akihito will hold a luncheon for President Mugabe in the afternoon before he resumes his programme by meeting the company presidents of Fuji Film and NEC Corporation, an information and communication technology company.
President Mugabe will later in the day hold a bilateral meeting with PM Abe and the pair will thereafter have a joint press conference at the same time First Lady, Cde Grace Mugabe, will be meeting Akie Abe, wife to the premier. The leaders’ deliberations are expected to centre on improving bilateral relations and investments.
Relations between the two nations nosedived a decade and half ago following the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West.
PM Abe will also host a dinner for President Mugabe and the First Lady at his official residence.
During the stay, Cde Mugabe is also expected to visit an orphanage to compare notes as she also runs a similar project back home.
Tomorrow, President Mugabe begins the day with a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Councillors.
He will have another engagement with the president of the House of Representatives.
President Mugabe will also meet Shinichi Kitaoka, who is the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
JICA is an organisation that co-ordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan.
Last year, the agency extended a $15 million grant to Zimbabwe for the development of the 674 hectares of Nyakomba Irrigation Scheme in Nyanga having funded phase one of the project with about $51, 8 million over the period 1997-2000.
President Mugabe will also engage the African Union Parliamentary Friendship Association before winding up his programme on Wednesday with a meeting with the African Diplomatic Community.
After engaging the diplomats, the President will leave for Kyoto, Japan’s seventh largest city, where he will take part in a programme hosted by Kyoto Prefectural Government and the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce.
Another dinner will again be hosted in his honour.
PM Abe has, on several occasions, appealed for Africa’s support to back Japan’s bid for a seat in the UN Security Council.
His country belongs to the Group of Four (G4) together with Germany, India and Brazil — countries which have mutually supported one another’s bids for permanent seats in the Security Council. The quartet has proposed reforms in the UN Security Council to include an additional six permanent seats, four going to them and two reserved for African countries.
Only five nations — China, Russia, France, Britain and the United States — have permanent seats and veto powers, which enable them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft.
President Mugabe is well known for calling for the democratisation and reform of the UN whose playing field is uneven and dominated by the “Big Five”.
PM Abe also needs President Mugabe’s expertise in preparing for the sixth edition of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) V1 to be held in Kenya in August.
This is the first time the meeting will be held outside Japan.