A Japanese family who have visited Malta 30 times and whose coffee shop showcases various Maltese items have been awarded the title 'Friends of the Maltese Islands'.

The Fujimoto family first visited Malta in 1996, returning on average more than once a year since then.

The family, made up of brothers Matsaya and Tetsuya and their mother Chiaru, run a coffee shop in Okayama named 'Tacsum' - the reverse spelling of 'Muscat' - in recognition of a Maltese family they have become friends with.

The shop features various Maltese items, from Knights of St John figurines to a Maltese flag and several local wines.

Malta Tourism Authority chairman Gavin Gulia thanked the family for having chosen Malta time and time again, and awarded them the recognition of 'friends of the Maltese Islands' at the MTA's offices at SmartCity. Malta's ambassador to Japan Andre Spiteri was also in attendance. 

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