Diplomatic role for Sidney Poitier

Thursday 17 April 1997 00:02 BST

Hollywood star Sidney Poitier took on a new role yesterday, representing the Bahamas as ambassador to Japan. The 70-year-old Oscar-winning actor, who holds dual US and Bahamian nationality, took up the post in a ceremony presided over by Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace.

"It's exhilarating, it's a very satisfying feeling," he said, after formally presenting his credentials to the emperor.

Poitier, who has only visited Japan twice before and has no plans to live here, will carry out his duties while continuing to make movies around the world.

"There will be times when I will make films, there will be times when I will probably direct films. There will be no time when I'm not available to fulfil my responsibilities as an ambassador," he said.

It's just as well Poitier is not planning to live in Tokyo, since the 700-island Caribbean nation has no embassy in Japan.

He said it was important to him to help promote the country where he grew up and which was the home of his parents and forefathers.

"I was raised in the Bahamas. My roots are there. I am as familiar with that society and its people as I am with America and there is in the present government a need for me to be of some service," he said. Reuters

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