Head of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Shinichi Kitaoka, has been received by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, while on a visit to Cairo. Attending the meeting were Tarek Shawqy, Egypt’s Education Minister; and Takehiro Kagawa, Japan’s Ambassador to Cairo.
President Sisi reviewed with Mr Kitaoka the projects JICA is executing or financing in Egypt, major among them is the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the Pyramids Plateau in Giza, and the Egyptian Japanese University for Science and Technology E-Just. The President said he is looking forward to increased Egyptian-Japanese cooperation in the field of education, in specific to completion of the 200-Japanese Schools project to be built in Egypt and operated by Japan.
Mr Kitaoka had earlier paid a visit to the Giza Plateau where he saw the Great Pyramid of Giza and the solar boat, one of two belonging to King Khufu who built the Pyramid some 2560 years BC. Archaeologists are not sure whether the solar boat was a funerary boat, or was believed to carry the King into his journey in the afterlife. The first of the two boats was discovered in 1958 in a bedrock pit at the foothills of the Pyramid; was restored and, in 1982, placed in a special museum built on site by Japan. Restoration of the second boat, found in a pit west of the first, started in 1992 again by an Egyptian-Japanese team. Once completed, the fully-restored boat will be moved to the GEM, another project partially funded by Japan and scheduled for partial opening later in 2018.
On his visit to the Giza plateau, Mr Kitaoka was accompanied by Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany, Mr Kagawa and GEM Supervisor Tarek Tawfik. He also toured the GEM, where he saw the King Ramses II colossus, and attended a meeting of the board of directors of GEM.
Mr Kitaoka asserted that JICA will continue its support until completion of restoration work on the second boat before its display at the GEM. The work is being carried out in collaboration with Higashi Nippon International University.
Mamdouh Taha, the head of the restoration project, said that 787 of the boat’s wooden beams have been lifted from the pit, while 1,264 are still inside.
25 February 2018