Life after Manila for Ambassador Kaz

He is Green Expo 2027 commissioner

Just last March, Manila bid farewell to one of its well-loved figures in the diplomatic community, Ambassador Kazuhiro Koshikawa. Ambassador Kaz, as he was fondly called by his Filipino followers on social media, concluded his tenure as the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines. Stepping away from his diplomatic role in Manila, we all wondered what his next adventure would be.

ECO WARRIOR Ambassador Kaz is back in Tokyo, working tirelessly as commissioner for Green Expo 2027 happening in Yokohama

Despite his youthful appearance, energetic demeanor, and physical fitness, Ambassador Kaz is the most senior in age among the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s ambassadors. He officially retired on March 19, but people he has worked with always knew that retirement, at least in its classic sense, was not going to last for too long. “He really enjoys working and truly loves diplomacy,” said a former embassy colleague. And everyone was right. Barely a few weeks into retirement, on April 2, he’s back in their Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Kaz is appointed as commissioner for Japan’s upcoming Green Expo 2027, which will be held in Yokohama.

Bringing the world to Yokohama

This transition marks not only a personal milestone for Ambassador Kaz but also signals a significant shift in his focus towards environmental sustainability and global cooperation. During his time in Manila, he played a pivotal role in strengthening the bilateral relations between Japan and the Philippines. With his diplomatic acumen and commitment to fostering cooperation, he facilitated numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing defense and economic ties, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people connections between the two nations. His efforts were instrumental in furthering mutual understanding and collaboration in various fields.

Fresh from his meeting at the Philippine embassy, I met up with Amba Kaz for merienda at a small Filipino restaurant in Tokyo. Over some leche flan and coffee, he shared his excitement over his new role.

“The Philippines was our first embassy visit to talk about the Green Expo 2027,” he said. “We hope it can be one of the participating countries due to the wealth of tropical plants and flowers it is home to.”

The expo, set to be held in a 100-hectare site in Yokohama, is expected to attract 10 million visitors. It will focus on the theme “Scenery of the Future for Happiness.” It will be coming at the heels of the World Expo happening in Osaka in 2025 with the theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” It is also a chance for countries to learn from each other when it comes to the best practices in sustainably growing food.

A self-confessed “plant-tito,” Ambassador Kaz is someone who enjoys tending to a garden, whether on a balcony or in the sprawling grounds back in the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Manila, where he had malunggay and kamias, ready for their kitchen’s needs. Now, as he takes on the role of commissioner for the Green Expo 2027, the ambassador brings not just his love for greenery but his wealth of diplomatic experience and passion for environmental sustainability to the forefront. Sustainability is at the heart of the agenda for Green Expo 2027, whose aim is to bring together stakeholders from across the globe to exchange ideas, share best practices, and forge partnerships toward building a greener, more resilient future. As commissioner, the ambassador will play a key role in steering the direction of the Expo, leveraging his diplomatic expertise to facilitate dialogue and collaboration among participating countries and organizations.

“The dynamic relationship between Japan and the Philippines is rapidly evolving. From recent trilateral discussions in Washington D.C. to robust economic cooperation, foreign investments, and security and defense collaborations, our partnership spans various significant domains. Amid these epoch-making developments, we mustn’t overlook the significance of nurturing our cultural exchanges and fostering people-to-people relations. These aspects are equally vital in strengthening the bonds between our nations,” he said.

AMBASSADOR KAZ is back in Tokyo, working tirelessly as commissioner for Green Expo 2027 happening in Yokohama.JPG
BRINGING THE WORLD'S HORTICULTURE TO JAPAN Green Expo 2027 is set to be a place where countries can learn best practices from each other

Back to Tokyo

While he and his wife, Madame Yuko, miss the friends they made in Manila, the ambassador is also happy to be back in Tokyo. “I’ve been walking more and strengthening my legs,” he said with a smile. “In Manila, I was always in a car and now, I’m using our train system again.”

He admitted to missing tinola and sinigang and to bringing home a few bottles of calamansi and mango concentrate. “They’re great for cocktails—we usually mix them with Japanese sochu.”

As Ambassador Koshikawa embarks on this new chapter in his career, his legacy of diplomacy and dedication to promoting goodwill and cooperation between nations will continue to resonate. His transition exemplifies the importance of adaptability and innovation in addressing the evolving challenges of our time, as well as the power of diplomacy and collective action in shaping a more sustainable and prosperous future for generations to come.