Japanese Princess Mako visited Thursday a settlement in eastern Bolivia where immigrants from her country began to live in 1955 after the end of World War II.
The princess, now on an official tour of the Latin American country, gave encouragement to settlers and Bolivians of Japanese descendant in San Juan in the department of Santa Cruz.
Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, said at a welcome luncheon, “I heard that early settlers created their lives by working very hard to develop virgin forests.”
The settlement has developed “thanks to the mother country’s instruction and support, as well as understanding and generosity from the Bolivian side,” Shizuo Sawamoto, chairman of a Japan-Bolivia association in San Juan, said. “I express my deep respect for people concerned.”
A total of 1,684 people immigrated from Japan to San Juan from 1955 to 1992. Currently, 778 people from 240 households live in the settlement.