Muscat: Residents of the Sultanate need to learn to clean up after themselves, Ambassador of Japan to Oman Mitsugu Saito has said.
Mitsugu Saito, who spends about 40 minutes every morning taking a walk with his wife on Shatti Beach, ends up picking about five kilograms of litter from the beach on a daily basis.
The refuse he finds ranges from cigarette butts and plastic bottles to discarded shoes and even soiled diapers. The reason for this littering, he said, stems from the attitude of the residents.
“One thing that is unique in Japan is that, when we are students, we have to clean the school after our lessons every day. Students then get accustomed to keeping public places clean.” he explained.
“We have to learn to clean everything, from the classrooms and the corridors to even the gym, the kitchen and the toilets.”
“Even at home, my parents used to tell me not to throw garbage on the street, but to only use the dustbins,” added Saito. “That is why if you go to any city in Japan, you will find the streets very clean.”
The ambassador and his wife also document the amount of garbage they’ve collected through photographs. “We can find that after the weekends, there is a lot of garbage,” revealed Saito’s wife, Wakana. “On Wednesday, for example, we don’t collect much trash in the bag, because the weekend is over.”
“I believe education at a young age is very important,” she added. “We learned so many disciplines when we were young, when we are in elementary school. Our curriculum also includes learning to clean up after ourselves.”
Although this is Saito’s first ambassadorship, he has served the government of Japan for many years in the Arab world, in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo.
However, he said the friendliness and open-mindedness of the Omani people sets the Sultanate apart from the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations. “Omani people are the best people in the GCC,” he said. “Omanis are very open minded and decent. I enjoy my posting in Muscat very much.”
“My life in Oman is very calm. The Omani people are very nice as well,” added his wife. “In Japan, we have a saying. When you have both beaches and mountains in the town, it means you have a lot of culture. It is the same in Oman and I really enjoy it during the cooler season.”
Under his tenure as Ambassador of Japan, he also recently employed two young Omanis in his office. While one works in the embassy’s Visa Department and has proved to be of immense value to other locals, who wish to travel to Japan, the other works in the ambassador’s Cultural Department.
“I find that Omanis are very business-like and professional,” Ambassador Saito explained. “I am very satisfied with the quality of their work. If I have the opportunity, I would like to hire more Omanis. Sometimes, the Omanis who come to visit us need Arabic assistance and these two are very capable.”