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Former Zimbabwean ambassador to Japan and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ambassador Stuart Comberbach was on Friday honoured for his efforts to strengthen relations between Harare and Tokyo.

He received an Order of the Rising Sun.

Ambassador Comberbach was among the 85 foreign recipients of the award at an event held on May 8 in Tokyo.

Speaking at the conferment held in Harare, Japanese ambassador Yoshi Hiraishi said the Order of the Rising Sun was awarded to people who have made significant contributions in promoting friendship between Japan and Africa.

“During his term when he served in Japan as a Zimbabwean ambassador for 11 years, from 2003 to 2014, he made every endeavour to promote the development of partnership, friendship and goodwill between Japan and Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.

“His achievements, which were highly valued in the selection process for this award, include his firm commitment to strengthening the partnership between Japan and Africa through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process, his efforts for the promotion of friendship between Japan and Africa and, his g support for the revitalisation of the bilateral relation between Zimbabwe and Japan,” said Ambassador Hiraishi.

Ambassador Comberbach also served as TICAD chairman of the African Diplomatic Corps in Japan between January 2003 and May 2011. The Japanese envoy said during his tenure as TICAD chair, Ambassador Comberbach played an active co-ordinating role for African countries and the African Union committee in forming an African opinion.

He also participated in various other events in Japan.

Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Political Detainees and Restrictees and former Zimbabwe ambassador to China Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said the award was befitting.

“African countries need to learn from Japan to become modern. We get very excited when Japanese bankers, business people and scientists come to help Africa become a prosperous continent and complement people to people relations,” said ambassador Mutsvangwa.

Ambassador Comberbach said the award was for Zimbabwe.

“For our embassy in Tokyo and for the African Diplomatic Corps, it was a privilege and great pleasure to have played a role in strengthening relations,” he said.

Source : The Herald