WELCOME: Abidin looking as Hirofumi signs the visitors’ log book in City Hall.
KOTA KINABALU August 9, 2012: Many Japanese are keen to come to Sabah but were prevented from doing so due to the absence of a direct flight connecting Japan and Sabah.
The new chief consul of the Consular Office of Japan for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, Hirofumi Morikawa, told Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir when paying a courtesy call on the latter at his office on Tuesday.
Morikawa also pointed out that many Japanese do not understand English and hence were prevented from travelling to Sabah via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which they find very confusing as they cannot read most of the signages.
The chief consul said he had already met with the heads of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia to discuss about reintroducing a direct flight between Kota Kinabalu and Japan.
According to Morikawa, two years after Japan was hit by the Tsunami, its economy is now recovering and the people are starting to venture out again.
Where in the previous years they have been eyeing Kuala Lumpur, the chief consul said the scenario now is different, as many Japanese are looking at Sabah and Sarawak.
In September this year, Morikawa said a Japanese delegation consisting mainly officials from 47 government districts in Japan will be gathering in Kota Kinabalu for a seminar.
Meanwhile, Hirofumi who assumed office about a month ago, told the mayor that he looks forward to serving here, and providing services to the Japanese people here, as well assisting the locals who wish to visit Japan.
He said he is also looking at introducing a ‘multiple visa’ that would be valid for three years, which would benefit frequent visitors from Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan to Japan.
Among others, the mayor welcomed the new chief consul to Sabah and thanked him for taking time to call on him.