On 3 July 2013, Ambassador Thanatip Upatising paid a courtesy call on Mr. Kiyoshi Ueda, Governor of Saitama Prefecture, and delivered a speech on Thailand-Japan relations in the occasion of Saitama-Thailand Friendship Association’s annual meeting.
Both stressed the strong ties of the two nations at all levels as well as those of Thailand and Saitama Prefecture. Today, Thailand and Saitama have cooperated in water management. Moreover, the twin towns, Saitama Prefecture’s Chichibu City and Thailand’s Yasothon Prefecture also share similarity in rocket festivals. Additionally, the number of Thais residing in Saitama numbered as many as 2,600, not to mention 77firms from Saitama Prefecture investing in Thailand. The Ambassador and the Governor mutually agreed to further strengthen the ties between the two parties.
The Ambassador emphasized the significance of Japan as the important strategic partner for Thailand and ASEAN. He invited Japan to utilize Thailand as the production hub for export to other countries as Thailand is geographically the central of ASEAN and takes regional connectivity greatly into account. To illustrate, Thailand is currently building infrastructure system, especially high-speed train, to better facilitate regional connectivity. On the other hand, the Ambassador also mentioned Japan exempting tourist visa for Thais, which should lead to more Thai tourists visiting Japan and more exchange between people of the two countries.
Saitama-Thailand Friendship Association was established in 1999 by the initiation of a friend of Thailand, Saitama Prefecture’s governor at that time. Today the association has approximately 300 members and has carried out a range of activities to promote Thailand-Japan and Thailand-Saitama Prefecture’s relations.