Opportunities abound between Sabah and Japan to collaborate, says Liew

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew (second left) receiving a souvenir from Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia His Excellency Takahashi Katsuhiko (left) on Tuesday.

KOTA KINABALU: There is a lot of room for collaboration between Sabah and Japan in terms of tourism, environmental conservation and education, says Datuk Christina Liew.

The Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said in terms of tourism, she hoped to see more Japanese tourists visit Sabah via increased direct flights connecting Japan and the state.

“Sabah has a lot more to offer tourists and visitors, apart from its natural beauty, diving paradise and wildlife such as the iconic orangutan.

“For one, we would like to invite our Japanese visitors to come and witness the Harvest Festival or Pesta Kaamatan celebration in May this year," Liew said in a statement.

She said this following a courtesy call from the Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia, Takahashi Katsuhiko, on Tuesday (Feb 7).

Takahashi said both sides could work together to promote Sabah, while encouraging more Malaysians to visit Japan.

The ambassador said that Sabah shared similarities of beautiful natural resources and tourism hotspots like Japan, noting that the state has Mount Kinabalu, islands and the hot springs.

"One area that I look forward to enhancing (while I am here) is Japanese technology for environmental protection, given that Sabah produces energy, oil and gas," the ambassador said, adding that Japan can also contribute knowledge in the area of coastal maintenance.

On people exchange, Takahashi expressed hope Sabah can be a part of the existing student exchange programme between Japan and Malaysia.

In a separate statement from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), its Science and Natural Resources Faculty said they are exploring education and research collaboration opportunities with Japan.

The Faculty Dean Prof Dr Jualang Azlan Gansau said this is following discussions between the Japanese consulate representatives, counsellor Shiho Kako and consul Eguichi Takayoshi earlier this month.

The cooperation framework is expected to encompass industry players and communities, he said on Tuesday.

“The faculty is also engaging in several collaborative activities with Japanese universities, namely Kagoshima University and Rakuno Gakuen University for the Exchange Student and Visit of Research Counterpart To UMS.

“During the meeting, we also elaborated on the UMS-Japan cooperation in the research field related to earthquake and tsunami disasters,” he said, adding that the Japanese consulate is eager to see the continued interest of engagement with Japanese higher institutions as well as secondary schools.

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