On November 18, 2022, we paid a courtesy visit to the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is located in the eastern part of Timor Island, which is in eastern Indonesia. It has a population of approximately 1.3 million people and a land area about the same size as the combined area of four prefectures in Japan (Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa). The terrain is mountainous. It became an independent nation in 2002 after gaining independence from Indonesia.
Although it is a young country with only 20 years of independence, Timor-Leste ranks much higher than Japan at 56th place in the Gender Gap Index, while Japan ranks 116th. The Gender Gap Index is an important measure to assess gender equality or inequality in different countries and has received significant attention in the international community in recent years.
We had the opportunity to inquire about the efforts made by Ambassador Ilidio Simeões da Costa, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Timor-Leste in Japan, to promote women’s social participation. We also asked about the most important aspect to improve, and he mentioned “education and health.” He particularly emphasized the improvement of maternal and child health during childbirth, such as reducing infant mortality rates and diseases.
Japan can be considered a country where babies can grow up safely, with one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. In various fields, improving people’s lives and making the country better, it is important for us to first understand and support each other, and establish a cooperative relationship. We felt that as part of the Asian Women Leaders Forum (AWLF) initiative, we can play a role in building such relationships.
We express our heartfelt gratitude for the warm personality and gaze of Ambassador Ilidio Simeões da Costa. We are truly thankful for the generous amount of time he devoted to us, which made us forget about the passing of time.