President Ruto to visit Japan next year amid growing ties

President William Ruto (right) with Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ken Okaniwa at State House, Nairobi on Monday, October 23, 2023. [William Ruto, X]

President William Ruto on Monday, October 23, received a special message from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, inviting him to visit Japan next year.

The message was delivered by Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ken Okaniwa, who met the president at State House, Nairobi.

Ruto announced the invitation on his X account, saying he was looking forward to the official visit.

“Kenya and Japan are celebrating 60 years of diplomacy, friendship and partnership. We share a long history of trade, cordial relations and strong cooperation,” he wrote.

He also thanked Japan for its support in various sectors, such as health, agriculture and education.

“We are grateful for Japan’s funding of infrastructure projects in health, agriculture and education among them a high-tech laboratory/ facility upgrade at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the Southern by-pass in Mombasa and an intelligent transport system in Mombasa County,” he added.

The meeting came ahead of the ninth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which will be held in Yokohama, Japan in 2025.

 Japan has been leading this conference since 1993, co-hosted by United Nations, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank and African Union Commission (AUC).

Kenya hosted the previous TICAD in 2016, which was attended by Prime Minister Kishida’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe.