Her Excellency Keiko Yanai, the Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives paid a courtesy call on First Lady Fazna Ahmed this morning at the Official Residence of the President.

The First Lady and the Ambassador spoke of the longstanding and friendly relations between Japan and the Maldives.

Both sides also spoke extensively about sports diplomacy between Japan and the Maldives, with the Ambassador expressing that development cooperation should not merely encompass infrastructural development, but should also cater to the priorities of the civil society, including recreation and entertainment opportunities. In that regard the “Bicycle Parking Facilities Provision Foundation” of Japan is offering to donate 200 bicycles to Bike Maldives as well to coordinate the establishment of new regular sporting opportunities in the Maldives, such as Karate for students as well as training swimmers who could potentially compete in the Olympics.

The First Lady, who is an avid sportswoman and firm advocate of living an active and healthy lifestyle welcomed these offers by the Japanese government and expressed that Maldivians would greatly benefit from such activities. She expressed that Maldivian students in particular would benefit much from the camaraderie and discipline inherent to sporting activities, and that as someone who has worked in the field of education for over 20 years, and who has an active interest in children’s development, she is very keen on young Maldivians being able to explore these upcoming opportunities.