The Japanese Ambassador to the Maldives, Mayor of Male’ City Council and other City Council Members, Cabinet Ministers and all the well wishers present here tonight. Good Evening;

I believe it won’t be incorrect to suggest that we in the Maldives first started seeing Japanese people and started meeting Japanese people in the early 70’s. Initially they came as our guests to our homes in the early 70’s when tourism wasn’t yet the industry that it is now.

I certainly do remember a Japanese family who spent two weeks in my home when I was very little. I, then later on, came to realize that there were a number of Japanese families staying in a number of homes all throughout the 70’s and in fact that led and it assisted and contributed towards seeing the tourism industry as it is now.

Then of course later on with the advent of tourism as it is now we started meeting a number of Japanese people. We all know how much consideration that the Japanese people always have for others, much more than for themselves. We’ve never met a people that is so soft hearted or so considerate of others.

Soon after that, after having initially been introduced to Japanese people, in many senses, I might actually be saying how I saw Japan. But I believe that a number of others in the Maldives see Japan in a similar light.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s Japan became our biggest development partner. Initially with the schools and then later on with the TV Maldives, Male’ breakwater and then again a number of schools and so on and so forth, I think it’s endless. We of course have a soft spot for Japan and there is no doubt about it.

When Japan was just hit by the tsunami, we had recently gone through a similar experience. In 2004 the Maldives was, of course, very badly damaged by one of the biggest tsunamis that we have heard of or experienced.

So it was, again, easier for our people to lend a hand with all the memories fresh with people we so like and so admire and to a people we are so thankful to. We will be willing to do whatever we can in assisting the Japanese people. Our means are very modest and I’m sure that everyone will understand that. But it is of course not how much, but it is of course the thought and how much our people have worked in giving whatever possible to the people of Japan.

I thank the people of this country for so generously coming out to assist our friends in Japan. And again, we thank the Japanese government and the Japanese people for having a very good relationship with the people of the Maldives and for having installed in us many of your very, very good qualities as humans.

Thank you very much.