Japan and Mexico boast 400 years of ties


Image from Flickr
Image from Flickr

Japan’s 400 years of interchanges with Mexico date back to a marine accident. In September 1609, a galleon carrying a party led by Rodrigo de Vivero y Aberrucia, governor of Eve Espana (Mexico under Spanish rule), capsized near Onjuku, Chiba Prefecture, on its way back from the Philippine Islands where he was posted. The ship’s 317 crewmembers were rescued by devoted local villagers, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Both countries have since been deepening their relationships.




Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world in those days. But Date Masamune, the feudal lord of the Sendai clan (today’s Miyagi Prefecture), had a magnificent dream to enrich his country by developing international trade across the Pacific Ocean. In September 1613, four years after the accident, Masamune dispatched a 30-member Keicho mission led by Hasekura Tsunenaga, on a tour of Mexico, Spain, and Rome. Masamune’s ambition ended inconclusive. However, his move undoubtedly opened up a big chance to promote interchanges between Japan and Mexico.


Image from Flickr
Image from Flickr

 Four centuries later, both countries are making steady progress in their bilateral partnership and cooperation. A joint statement on "Shared Vision and Actions for the Strengthening of the Japan-Mexico Global Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century" singed in April 2013 at the end of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto lauded the Japan Mexico Partnership Program (JMPP) of 2003 which it said “has greatly contributed to the economic growth and development of third countries, particularly in Latin.” It specifically referred to the progress made in the fields of environment, natural disaster, public sanitation, technical education, and agriculture and livestock industrial development in Latin America and Caribbean countries. The two leaders underlined their commitments to continue the bilateral cooperation based on the IMPP.



The “Mexico-Japan Exchange Program for the Strategic Global Partnership” is one of projects aimed to train young personnel who can contribute to reinforcing the strategic partnership between the two countries. It specifically aims to promote mutual understanding and friendship through a regular exchange of young persons. Japan sends company employees to Mexican public organizations, research institutions and companies for internship ranging in periods from a month to six months and students to Mexican universities for periods ranging from two weeks to a year. Under this program, courses on tropical fruit tree cultivation, gene resources, bioenergy, marine sanctuary management were additionally set up in fiscal 2014.



These symbolic projects have been producing a number of talented persons active in various circles. They are instrumental in supporting interchanges not just between Japan and Mexico but between Japan and other Latin American countries. Let us hope that the bond between Japan and Mexican will continue deepening and broadening in the future.

  こうした両国の相互理解、友好促進のためのシンボル的事業により、各界で活躍する多くの人材を輩出し、両国関係のみならず、日本と中南米との交流を支える力となっている。日本とメキシコの絆が今後も深まっていくことを期待したい。Written by : Meiku Takeda