By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: Under the auspices of Japan’s embassy in Kuwait, the Japanese Society in Kuwait (JSK) organized the ‘Operation Turtle’ beach cleanup drive on Saturday at Shuwaikh Beach. Several Japanese citizens and locals participated in the event, including Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Director-General of Environment Public Authority. In his speech before the cleanup started, Japanese Ambassador to Kuwait Masato Takaoka thanked everyone who attended the ‘Operation Turtle’, the annual beach cleanup to support Kuwait’s environment.
“I thank the authorities and organizations supporting the event, which are the Environment Public Authority, Kuwait Environment Protection Society, Kuwait Oil Company, Dasman Bilingual School, and Kuwait Boy Scouts Association. I salute to all the volunteers, friends of Japan and the members of the Japanese community,” he said. The ‘Operation Turtle’ was first launched by the Japanese community in 2000 with the intention of Japanese residents in Kuwait to contribute to the Kuwaiti society through environmental protection efforts.
According to the envoy, the campaign was named ‘Operation Turtle’ because the purpose is to make Kuwait’s beaches clean and safe for turtles. “I am grateful that over the past twenty years, many organizations and people in Kuwait have joined hands with the Japanese community to work together in this beach cleaning campaign. I am particularly delighted that we are here today, because we had to cancel the ‘Operation Turtle’ last year under the coronavirus pandemic. The situation has improved so much now that we can gather here and enjoy outside activities,” he said.
He also mentioned that this year, Japan and Kuwait marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. “As we celebrate this important milestone, there is no better event other than the ‘Operation Turtle’ for many of us in Kuwait to demonstrate our goodwill and friendship,” he added. The ambassador said he was also looking forward to seeing the Kuwait Towers illuminate with Japanese and Kuwaiti national flags to commemorate the 60th anniversary. “We are working in that, and it will be wonderful if we could count down the lighting up in the evening,” he concluded.