The Japanese will open their embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi on Tuesday, 1 January, 2008. The new Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Hideto Mitamura said this in Lilongwe on 26 December, 2007 when he presented letters of credence to President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika.

With this development, all diplomatic transactions between Malawi and Japan will now be taking place locally. Previously, these transactions were handled through the Japanese Embassy in Zambia. I recall that earlier this year, when I applied for the Japanese government (Monbukagakusho) scholarship I had to route my documents through their Zambian office. Those of you who are familiar with such applications will agree with me that DHL costs can really bite. With the new Embassy in Malawi, such applications can even be hand delivered. I also hope that, with their increased presence in Malawi, they will increase the number of Embassy recommended scholarships for Malawian scholars from one to maybe five.