THE Fuji Maru ship housing over 300 youths from around the region and Japan docked at Muara Port yesterday as part of the final leg of the 39th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP).
At the press conference yesterday held for their visit to Brunei, the administrator for this year's SSEAYP programme, Toshio Kuzuma, highlighted the significance of the ASEAN-Japan relationship.
"I believe that we can evaluate the high importance of building ties between ASEAN and Japan based upon the illustrious history and continuation of this programme. ASEAN and Japan share a codependent relationship," he said.
Twenty-eight Bruneian participants are taking part in this year's programme. The Bruneian national leader and the assistant youth leader also shared their experiences of the programme which has spanned over 40 days so far, taking participants to Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.
"It has been an overwhelming experience," said Assistant Youth Leader, Hjh Siti Zahara Hj Murni. "The highlight so far has been my homestay with a Muslim family in Vietnam. I previously was not aware of Vietnam's Muslim community and the issues they face."
The Brunei youth contingent also benefited greatly by participating in the Youth Leader Summit in Japan according to the Brunei contingent's National Leader, Hj Mosli Hj Abdul Hadis.
"The summit gave our youth the opportunity to participate in a cross-cultural discussion where they were able to learn and see things from a different perspective."
Echoing this sentiment, Youth Leader Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin said that their contingent has "grown tremendously and made leaps in personal development" after experiencing homestays in multiple regional countries.
Hj Mosli added the Bruneian contingent also had the opportunity to meet with prominent people such as the governor of Jakarta and the deputy speaker of the Regional House of Representatives for the DKI Jakarta Province.
After arriving at Muara yesterday, the SSEAYP contingent was divided into 11 groups to make institutional visits around the Sultanate including The Brunei Times office, the Youth Centre and the Board of Economic Development Board (BEDB).
The youth contingent will be meeting His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam today at the Istana Nurul Iman as part of their four-day visit in Brunei.
In addition to their audience with His Majesty today, the SSEAYP contingent will have their homestay matching ceremony at the indoor stadium to allocate participants with their foster parents.
The annual youth programme fully funded by the Japanese Government was created in 1974 and participated by Brunei since 1985. The purpose of the programme is to promote friendship and mutual understanding among youths of Japan and Southeast Asian countries.
The Fuji Maru will set sail to its final port of call, Tokyo in Japan on December 6 and is scheduled to arrive on December 13.
The Brunei Times
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