September 14th, 2023
His Excellency Mr. Adel Ali Ahmed ALSUNAINI
Karen, Moe, Kanna, Mito
Karen: Thank you for the interview opportunity today. Since 1990, your country has been a great friend to Japan. I would like to express my gratitude for all the support that the people of Yemen offered when Japan faced the Great Tohoku Earthquake. Your kindness and support during our difficult times hold a special place in our hearts, and we will always cherish the strong friendship between our countries.
What is a unique aspect of education in your country?
H.E. emphasized the educational challenges in Yemen, highlighting the
importance of affordability. Moreover, H.E. expressed his desire to bring
Japanese education to Yemen.
What are some similarities and differences you see between your country
and Japanese students?
H.E. mentioned that Yemen is in a difficult situation, however, students
there receive good quality education. Some similarities between Japanese
and Yemeni students are the high quality of education, and the willingness
to study more and gain a wider perspective of the world. The students
from both of these countries prefer to have a university degree. The only
is that Japan has more various fields of studies. H.E. believes that it is very high tech in Japan, so there is top level STEM programmes.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
When H.E. was a child, he aspired to become a famous football player. In his hometown, a city similar to Tokyo, there was a well-known football team that H.E. admired.
What do you believe unites the nation, and what cultures do the people of your country value?
Several factors unite Yemen, including patriotism, protection of our collective well-being, respect of law and order, freedom and democracy. H.E. emphasized that, in particular, freedom and democracy unifies the nation.
Do you see that tradition is well preserved in your country, especially with globalization progressing?
Tradition is very well preserved in Yemen, while globalization is progressing. Yemen has a deep connection with their roots and cultures, which makes them a conservative nation. However, this makes them struggle with developing/adjusting with the world, just like Japan.
What are some qualities of your country that you would like to bring awareness to people in Japan?
Yemen has a lot of qualities including, agricultural lands, mountains, great weather, unique foods, islands, and many touristic locations. Aforementioned, Yemen is a country with a long history and promising future. When H.E. started working in Japan, he noticed that both Japan and Yemen have long histories, which is why he is working to bring Japanese students to study in Yemen.
What are your views on globalization (positive/negative effects culture)?
H.E. explained that while there are negative aspects to globalization, we should focus on the positive aspects. Moreover, H.E. mentioned visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Summit for the first time three weeks ago and witnessing the experiences of the people in Hiroshima. Seeing the city right now has helped H.E. gain courage.
Furthermore, the Second Secretary Mr. Nezar ALMAKHEDHI pointed out that globalization represents the way in which trade and technology made the world into a more connected/interdependent place and it captures the economic and social changes that come about as a result. He mentioned that the economic aspects are generally positive, whereas the social aspects can be seen as both positive and negative. Distinguishing between the positive and negative can be achieved by asking the question, “Does it create conflict?”
What do you believe is the first step towards world peace?
H.E. mentioned that he believes that the key to world peace is the economic state/economic sufficiency. Furthermore, the Second Secretary added that if everyone has enough income, there will not be any conflicts.
What are your goals as an ambassador?
H.E. believes that Yemen is located in an important place for the world as it is where energy comes through. His goal is to have Japanese companies and Yemeni companies to work together in terms of importing and exporting natural resources such as oil, gas, and buildings. Although there is a competition between Japan and its neighboring countries, H.E. mentioned that they trust the Japanese government as the government is doing great in politics and working beyond the world for peace. H.E. would like to strengthen the Yemeni and Japanese people further, through culture, businesses, tourism, and economy.
What is your passion about working as the ambassador in Japan?
Since it's H.E.'s first experience working in Asia, particularly in Japan, he's fascinated by the strong emphasis on security and the distinctiveness of Japanese culture, particularly in its natural settings. At 7 o'clock, he sets out to explore and uncover new areas he hasn't yet encountered. While walking, he engages with the locals, eager to gather insights about the place's history and general facts. Through these conversations with Japanese people, H.E. perceives them as reserved yet forthright. However, when engaged in personal conversations, they become more open and amiable.
Do you have a message towards Japanese students/people?
H.E. encourages Japanese students and people to read more, learn about the beauty of Yemen, visit the country, and spread awareness to people around them such as friends and family. Moreover, H.E. mentioned that Yemen is seeking for peace, going through a situation similar to what the Japanese experienced after the war.
What surprised you when you came to Japan?
During his time in Japan, H.E. has explored various places, including Osaka, Saitama, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Mount Fuji. He shared that successfully reaching the summit of Mount Fuji instilled a sense of strength in him.
H.E. observes that Japanese society is characterized by a strong adherence to rules and a mutual respect between its citizens and the established systems. As an example, when Japan achieved victory in soccer, he proudly sported a Japanese soccer jersey while crossing the Shibuya Scramble. During the green light, everyone was filled with enthusiasm and jubilation. However, the moment the light turned red, he was taken aback by how everyone promptly obeyed the rules and fell into a serene silence.
Additionally, H.E. found Japan's technological advancements and the exceptional level of safety to be particularly striking.
What are some traditional games you played when you were a child?
When H.E. was a child, he used to play a family game. In this game one was not allowed to ask questions straight forward or directly. Instead, the game involves asking questions indirectly to gather as much information as possible.
Beautiful Places in Yemen:
The photographs of Yemen displayed in the embassy were all taken by a Japanese photographer named Taira-san, who has visited Yemen 12 times.
Old Sana'a, a captivating and historic city, holds the distinction of being the world's oldest capital (it served as Yemen's capital before the war), and it continues to be inhabited today. Each day, at a specific time, the city gates are closed to allow residents to settle in. While many other cities have embraced modernization, Old Sana'a remains beautifully preserved, retaining its original character and earning recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This preservation necessitates that the buildings be renovated in a manner that faithfully adheres to their original designs.
Old Walled City of Shibam
The Old Walled City of Shibam is also known as the “Manhattan of the desert”. The city has the longest historical buildings which were made with basic materials but are very stable.
Socotra Island is a stunning destination abundant with unique dragon trees, exclusive to Yemen and this particular island. The crystal-clear seawater surrounding it rivals the pristine waters of Okinawa.
People in Yemen like to build buildings on top of mountains like the Dal al Hajar.
In Yemen, traditional clothing is a vivid reflection of the country's rich culture and heritage. They wear a flowy robe/dress, paired with a turban or "jambiya", a distinctive curved dagger which almost looks like a samurai-sword in Japan, which is secured at the waist. These traditional garments showcase Yemen's diverse regional variations and are still commonly worn on various occasions, preserving the country's unique cultural identity.
The Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Adel Ali Ahmed ALSUNAINI welcomed us with the best coffee from Yemen, along with an informative pamphlet about Yemen Coffee. It is the most expensive coffee in the world and has a special recipe, coming from H.E.’s grandmother, including mocha, cinamon, and coffee spices.
Yemen has a long history. We saw many beautiful photos of Yemen. Also actually, this country is the birthplace of mocha coffee. We had a special recipe for coffee, it tasted spicy.
H.E. Mr. Adel Ali Ahmed ALUSUNAINI said that many Japanese people do not know Yemen, and chose Agriculture lands, Mountains, great weather, unique food, island, many touristic places as qualities of Yemen that H.E. would like to bring awareness to Japanese people. H.E. hopes to strengthen the Japanese and Yemeni culture and economic bond. H.E. told us to tell the story about Yemen to people in Japan and wanted Japanese people to know about Yemen.
H.E. and Mr. Nezar ALMAKHEDHI mentioned the economy several times. H.E. believes economic sufficiency is the first step towards world peace. This is because if people’s income increases, their lives will become more stable. Also, H.E. thinks globalization is how trade and technology have made the world into a more connected and independent place. It concludes economic effects and social aspects.
H.E. taught us two phrases at the beginning and end of the interview. They are Mrhaba and Maasalaamah. Mrhaba means hello. Maasalaamah means goodbye. I hope that Japanese people will have more opportunities to experience Yemen's culture.
Through this interview with the Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Adel Ali Ahmed ALSUNAINI, I got to know about not only the Republic of Yemen but also H.E. 's kind personality. He welcomed us with H.E.’s smile. We drank special coffee which was made in Yemen and had chocolates which matched with that coffee. Before the interview started, I was too nervous to talk because this is the first interview for me. However, thanks to H.E. 's kindness, I could get relieved.
In the interview, we could know about Yemeni historical buildings and traditional game, family game. Also, I looked at photographs of dragon trees. I have never seen mysterious plants like those. Yemeni view surprised me. What particularly impressed me is H.E. ’s answer to the question, what does H.E. believe is the first step towards world peace. H.E. answered Economic sufficiency. Received H.E. ‘s answer, everyone is affected by the economy, I try to think what the Japanese can do.
I got to know about the relationship and the differences between two countries from the interview. I would like to know more about Yemen and to visit there someday.