Speaking in fluent Bangla, Japanese professor Tomio Mizokami called on Bangladesh to free itself of its ‘enemies’, immediately after he was awarded the ‘Friend of Liberation War Honour’ on Sunday.
“Your patriotism is exemplary. The world follows you for the way you love your country and language,” he spoke in clear Bangla.
“Bangladesh invited me and gave me this Award. I could not believe it even in my dreams. I am overwhelmed with your hospitality,” he said.
Mizokami said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made the highest contribution to Bangladesh's journey to freedom and ended his speech with "Joi Bangla".
The auditorium roared in applause. Even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was seen clapping during his speech.
Mizokami, a professor at Japan's Osaka University, is said to know several languages of the Indian subcontinent.
The awards for contributing to the 1971 Liberation War was given out to the sixth batch of foreign friends in the morning at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). The programme began at 10:00am with screening of a documentary on the Liberation War.
This time, a total of 69 foreign friends from Cuba, United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Japan, the United States, Australia and Sweden were awarded with ‘Friends of Liberation War Honour’ and ‘Liberation War Honour’.
Cuban revolutionary and former President Fidel Castro and late British Prime Minister Lord Harold Wilson were awarded ‘Liberation War Honour’.