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History of Diplomatic Relations

Kenya and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1963 and the two countries have since enjoyed warm and cordial relations with resident diplomatic missions in their respective capitals at Ambassadorial level. Japan opened her Mission in Nairobi in 1964 and Kenya reciprocated in 1979.

Since that time, Kenya as the gateway and hub for East and Central Africa, has occupied a very special position in Japan’s diplomatic relations within the region. Currently, Kenya hosts one of the largest Japanese communities in Africa (about 800 as at October 2016). Nairobi is the Regional Headquarters for Japan’s Cooperation Agencies namely JICA, JETRO and JBIC. By December 2018, there were over one hundred and four (104) Japanese companies operating in Kenya, of which 54 have physical presence in the country.

Kenya is the leading recipient of Japanese development Assistance (ODA) in the Sub-Saharan Africa. This aid is mainly focused on technical assistance; grant aid; and concessional (ODA) loans. The priority areas of bilateral cooperation are five-fold namely, economic infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, and environment.

Kenya’s development Cooperation with Japan is currently anchored on the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) Yokohama Action Plan and TICAD VI Nairobi Declaration and its implementation Plan.

Kenya’s commitment to bolstering its engagement with Japan along the TICAD framework was demonstrated by the country hosting TICAD VI Summit on 27th – 28th August 2016 in Nairobi. This was the very first time for the TICAD Conference to be held outside Japan since its inception in 1993. Kenya is set to participate in TICAD VII to be held in August 2019 in Yokahama, Japan, in a major way, as the government plans to co-host three major side events namely: Blue Economy side event, Pre-Nairobi ICPD 25 Summit side event and Diaspora side event.