Oteng Tebape, Botswana’s former Ambassador to Japan, and Senior Private Secretary to former president, Festus Mogae, has become the first Motswana to receive a decoration from the Emperor of Japan, His Majesty Akihito.
Such decorations are bestowed upon individuals in recognition of their services to the nation or the public.
Tebape was decorated with the insignia of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in recognition of his distinguished services as the Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Botswana to Japan. Tebape held the position of an ambassador for over six years.
The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875 and it was Japan’s first award.
It features rays of sunlight radiating from the rising sun. The attachment is shaped into a chrysanthemum.
Japan’s ambassador to Botswana, Ryoichi Matsuyama, presented the award to Tebape last night at his official residence.
He said that the establishment of the Botswana Embassy in Japan and the dispatch of ambassador Tebape as the first ambassador were important turning points of their relations in terms of strengthening the channel of exchanging ideas on a daily basis.
“It is needless to say that Ambassador Tebape played a very important role in promoting the current friendly relationship between Botswana and Japan,” said Matsuyama.
Tebape accepted the award with great gratitude.
“I accept the honour with enormous gratitude and pride because it is awarded to me by Japan, a country whose many positive attributes and deep friendship towards Botswana have greatly inspired me,” he said.
He said that one of his most passionate campaigns during his tour of service in Japan was to have a Japanese Embassy in Botswana.
“We are very grateful that through your active support, Japanese companies will use their high level technology to support our mineral prospecting efforts,” said Tebape.
During his tenure, with the support from his embassy staff and Botswana stakeholders, they were able to establish the first ever Botswana Embassy Japanese language website and print Japanese language publicity material.
“We were also able to send a filming crew to Botswana to produce a Japanese language film and video from a limited embassy budget, establish Botswana/Japan Parliamentary league and Friends of Botswana Society.”
This honours system has been practiced as an important occasion to recognize meritorious services to the nation and the public and distinguished accomplishments in various areas of society in Japan.
It is a Biannual Conferment.
“The relations between Japan and Botswana developed through a harmonious and tireless collaboration and now both countries should be stepping onto a higher stage,” said Matsuyama.
Matsuyama also looked at future ventures and partnerships that could grow between the government of Botswana and Japan.
“I wish to promote and strengthen the cooperation in the field of capacity building of human resources and environmental measures, making use of Japanese ODA, and technology,” he said.
During the presentation of the award, Dr. Chiepe, former Minister of Education, expressed her gratitude towards the award.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Tebape and thank the Japanese Embassy for recognizing us,” she said, adding that they still have much to learn from them as much as the Japanese have much to learn from Botswana.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Hirofumi Nakasone, sent his regards.
“Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of Mr. Oteng Tebape, in recognition of your outstanding contribution, and my best wishes for your continued good health and happiness,” his message read.