Liberia, Japan To Dedicate Somalia Drive Project Soon

Foreign Minister Kemayah and Japanese Ambassador Himeno Tsutomu

The visiting Japanese Ambassador accredited to Liberia, His Excellency HIMENO Tsutomu, has disclosed that work on the Somalia Drive, soon to be renamed the Japan Freeway, is expected to be completed in May 2021.

   The Japanese Envoy indicated that his government is very pleased with progress being made thus far and the level of knowledge transfer to the local engineers, who are prepared to carry out maintenance.

   According to a Foreign Ministry release, Ambassador Tsutomu made these remarks when he paid a courtesy call on the Liberian Foreign Minister, Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

   Ambassador Tsutomu, who is residence in Ghana, said the bilateral relations between Japan and Liberia is moving from strength to strength, stating that in the near future Japan will be hosting the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8), noting that through this meeting Liberia and Japan will be further engaged, which will strengthen the relationship between the two peoples.

   On the issue of economic and social development cooperation, Ambassador Tsutomu said Japan planned to further commit grant assistance in the area of power generation, which will focus on the transmission and distribution of the electricity to many homes in the country, saying Japan will transfer maintenance technologies for the maintenance of diesel generators.

   As for the diplomatic reciprocation and issues, Ambassador Tsutomu commended the support expressed by Liberia through the Note Verbale for the up-coming election for the United Postal Union (UPU) Director General post in August 2021,  of the International Law Commission, member of the commission, Prof. ASADA Masahiko, Autumn 2021; Committee Against Torture, member of the committee, Dr. MAEDA Naoko, October 2021 and United Nations Security Council, non-Permanent member for 2023—2024, September 2022.

   He said Japan will continue its food assistance program to Liberia, improved safety and livelihood for fishermen in Montserrado County and build the capacity of Liberians against illegal fishing through FAO, livelihood of empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries during and after the COVID-19 through FAO, among others.

   In response, Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. said the Government of Liberia (GOL) is pleased with the level of relationship with Japan, noting that discussion with the Japanese Ambassador centers around both bilateral and multilateral issues.

   Minister Kemayah reiterated that the government would like to express thanks and appreciation for the level of support from the government of Japan, stating that through this support different projects were implemented in time pass, as well as on-going projects and for projects in the future.

   “As you know, Japan is working on the Japan Freeway, which will be completed sometime in May 2021. We agreed that following the completion Japan and Liberia will together host a ceremony, hopefully sometime in June, which will mark the formal completion of the Japan Freeway project, which the Liberia people will appreciate, and that will help open up the corridor that has been contributing to the congestion of traffic in that area,” Minister Kemayah noted.

   Minister Kemayah requested that the next TICAD conference be held in Monrovia, which Ambassador Tsutomu was very passionate about.

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