Japan–Tonga relations

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Japan–Tonga relations
Map indicating locations of Japan and Tonga



Japan and the Kingdom of Tonga have maintained official diplomatic relations since July 1970.[1] Japan is Tonga's leading donor in the field of technical aid.[1] The Japanese government describes its relations with Tonga as "excellent", and states that "the Imperial family of Japan and the Royal family of Tonga have developed a cordial and personal relationship over the years".[1]

In 1999, Tonga's exports to Japan (consisting primarily in pumpkins and tuna) were worth 9 million, while its imports (mainly machinery) were worth €1.5 million. Japan is Tonga's largest export market.[1]

In early 2009, Japan became the fourth country to establish an embassy in Tonga (following Australia, New Zealand and the People's Republic of China). In March, Ambassador Yasuo Takase became the first resident ambassador of Japan in Tonga.[2] He was also the first resident Japanese ambassador in any Polynesian country.[3]

The opening of the embassy came in a context of increased Japanese development aid in the Pacific.[4][5] In May 2009, Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele was welcomed to Japan by Emperor Akihito for a regional discussion on aid.[6]

Taufaʻahau Tupou IV (King of Tonga from 1965 to 2006) visited Japan on seven occasions.[1]