FCCJ LUNCHEON MEETING 19 FEBRUARY 2004
Theme:
"Finland Japan Relations"

Guest Speaker:
Mr. Norimasa Hasegawa , Former Ambassador of Japan to Finland
RECAP
Although taking up the post as Ambassador was his first visit to Finland, Mr. Hasegawa had made many friends in Finnish companies and organizations through his position as Vice-Minister for International Affairs at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication. And he got a very good impression of the Finns when he performed his first duty as Ambassador, presenting his credentials to President Halonen. The President told Mr. Hasegawa: " we are almost neighbors, there's only one country between us".

Through his three years experience in Finland, he finds many similarities between Japanese and Finns. We are hard working, honest, shy, respect our family, love nature and are punctual. He referred to what Marutei Tsurunen had said at a press interview when they met in Finland when asked about his success in Japan. Mr. Tsurunen's reply was: "my honesty". As Mr. Hasegawa is now running for the Upper House he said that he had already agreed with Mr. Tsurunen, although they represent different parties, that they would make a Finland Fan Club in the Diet, if he is elected.

As for future prospects of Finland-Japan cooperation Mr. Hasegawa emphasized the opportunities in tourism, especially for the growing number of senior citizens. For them, Finland is close and convenient, and his opinion is that the Finnish summer is the best in the world. He also presented some figures why Japanese tourist are important to Finland. Although they might not be the largest nationality by number to visit Finland, they leave much more money behind them than anybody else. According to a Norwegian survey Japanese spend 77,000 yen per day, whereas the second placed Americans leave 187 USD (20,000 yen) and the third, British 61 GBP (13,000 yen) behind them.

As a conclusion Mr. Hasegawa pointed out that as well as there was an expression that Finland is the Japan of Europe, Japan should now try to be the Finland of Asia.
IMAGES FROM THE MEETING
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FCCJ President Timo Varhama introduces the guest speaker.
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At the top table, from left: Lisa Karvinen, Embassy of Finland, Kanji Ohashi, FCCJ Board of Trustees Member, Ambassador Eero Salovaara, Mr. Hasegawa and Mr. Varhama. Back to camera Shigeyoshi Noto, Finnish Tourist Board.
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A FCCJ table at the meeting...
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...and a Danish one.
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Mr. Ohashi, Ambassador Salovaara, Mr. Hasegawa and Mr. Varhama.
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A 45 degree bow and a small present from FCCJ President Varhama for an interesting presentation!
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The luncheon was attended by 24 members and guests
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