This 2014 is a significant year for the history of the relationships between Japan and Cuba, since we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese: Samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga, in the Caribbean Archipelago.
Samurai Hasekura headed a diplomatic mission in Japan, aimed at establishing trade relationships with Mexico, and meeting the Pope at the Vatican. To this end, he crossed the Pacific Ocean on the San Juan Bautista sailboat and after a long journey, he arrived to San Cristóbal de La Habana in July, 1614.
Four centuries after that first visit, the Japanese vessels return to Cuba. The training fleet of Japan self-defense forces visited Havana to celebrate the 400 years of friendship between Japan and Cuba.
The fleet consists of two training ships named KASHIMA and SETOYUKI, plus an escort vessel called ASAGIRI.
Entering the Havana harbor
The fleet will reach Havana harbor at 9:00 am on Saturday, July 5, and will be docked at the “Sierra Maestra” terminal by 11:00 am. After arriving to the harbor, the salute to the nation will be carried out with an exchange of salvos: Japanese from the KASHIMA ship and Cubans from San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress.
Visit to the vessels
On Sunday, July 6, two of the ships, SETOYUKI and ASAGIRI, will be opened to visitors from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, and from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Given the limited capacity of the ships, the visit will be done following the queue order.
In the evening of July 6, at 4:00 pm (up to now), the fleet band will perform at Plaza de San Francisco de Asís.
On July 5 and 6, from dusk until approximately 10:00 pm, the ships will be festooned with an electronic decoration.
Besides these activities, there will flower offerings, a visit to the Samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga statue, and a volunteer work, among others. To provide more details on the fleet arrival, Japanese Ambassador in Cuba Hiroshi Sato, the fleet Commander and Rear Admiral Hideki Yuasa will be giving a press conference to the specialized media on Saturday, July 5, at 5:10 pm, at the KASHIMA Ship.
The Japanese Embassy wishes to make a friendly invitation to Japan´s friends and all those interested in the events the fleet provides to enjoy its activities.
Translation: Roxana Marquez Herrera (Cubarte)