At the Imperial State Banquet Hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko
1 December 1999
Your Majesty Emperor Akihito,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Queen Rania and I are especially happy to be here at the time when Japan is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Your Majesty's accession to the throne. We, together with the people and government of Jordan, congratulate Your Majesty on this happy occasion, and wish Your Majesties long life and good health and the friendly people of Japan continued advancement, prosperity and progress.
This is my fourth visit to Japan, to the country I came to respect and admire, and I am more pleased that I come with Queen Rania who visits Japan for the first time. My first visit was with my late father, His Majesty King Hussein, who took direct interest in our relations with Japan, and had a special affection and admiration for Your Majesty and for the friendly people of your country. It was under his guidance that warm and close ties developed between our two Imperial and Royal families.
Today I stand here with Your Majesty, and with our friends in Japan, with the same spirit and determination of my late father to strengthen our friendship and elevate our bilateral relations to the highest attainable level as we approach the new millennium.
In Jordan we consider ourselves privileged to have been visited by Your Majesties in 1976, by Their Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and Prince and Princess Takamado. Several members of our Royal family have visited Japan. We look forward to having the honour of receiving Your Majesties in Jordan.
As Japan celebrates the tenth year of your enthronement in the era of Heisei, the era of peace, we in the Middle East aspire to enjoy the blessing of peace that you have in Japan.
Peace for us in Jordan is the noblest of aims, and an object of our constant and determined quest. Our region has suffered too much for too long, and it is time for our people to enjoy a real and lasting peace. Only such a peace can bring stability, security and prosperity to our part of the world. It can pave the way for regional cooperation, open borders and joint co-ordination for the benefit of all the peoples and states in the region. I am confident that our efforts, with the support of the international community, will succeed, and that the people of the Middle East will enjoy a "Heisei era."
Although Japan and Jordan are far from each other geographically, we feel very close to Japan in our basic policies and values. Japan has been a good friend and supporter of Jordan. In difficult times during this decade, Japan stood by and helped Jordan, for which we are most appreciative and thankful.
In closing, I would like to assure Your Majesty of our eternal friendship and our desire to cooperate at all times. And may I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, to rise and join me in saluting the continued good health and happiness of Their Majesties and the prosperity of the great nation of Japan.