2017 earmarked as the year for Indo-Japanese friendly exchanges

Indians and Japanese bond over cultural pleasantries
/ New Delhi
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Taking forward the legacy of a cultural agreement that was signed between India and Japan in 1956, the two eastern countries are looking at building stronger ties with touristic, educational and cultural exchanges.

Over the course of time and post the 1956 Cultural Agreement between India and Japan, the two eastern countries have been working towards establishing stronger cultural ties. Lately, Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe stressed on the need to further expand the opportunities for tourism, youth exchange and educational collaboration between the two countries and decided to mark the year 2017 as a year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges. The opening ceremony for the same was held in the Indian capital, New Delhi on January 12 at an event which saw the announcements of various steps taken in the direction and also the unveiling of an Indo-Japanese film project.

The event was inaugurated by the Indian minster for Railways, Suresh Prabhu, Lok Sabha MPs, Richard Hay and Rahul Kaswan, President of Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), Ryoichi Matsuyama and Ambassador of Japan to India, Kenji Hiramatsu.

“I am fascinated by the common cultural links between India and Japan,” Hiramatsu said, while naming seven deities that linked the two countries. “Our relationship has greatly flourished and has entered a new era. I would like this to grow further with more Indians visiting Japan,” he said.

“We have had a long standing relation with Japan with the historic agreement of 1956. This relationship is getting better and deeper and we are looking forward to more ties,” Prabhu said at the event.

Touristic, cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries are the key focus for Japanese officials right now who are promoting the destination as a hub of technology and heritage.

“We saw thousands of Indian tourists visiting Japan last year and are looking forward to more exchanges. We have to offer our four seasons, our natural beauty and our cuisine,” said Matsuyama.

“Last year, Japan hosted 90 high school students for a cultural exchange who were able to learn about various technologies and science here and also have a cultural exchange with Japanese students of their age,” Matsuyama informed.

Japan is also easing out visa procedures for Indian students who wish to study in the oriental nation.

In an effort to further boost the exchanges and tourism, JNTO has opened their first Indian office in New Delhi. While addressing the crowd in Hindi, its Indian executive director, Kenichi Takano said that he was looking forward to a host of friendly and cultural exchanges between the two countries and also the promotion of tourism.

“India has a huge outbound market and with JNTO, the travel between Japan and India is surely to boom,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. “With its culture and food, Japan is a great experiential destination and the Indians have a lot to explore there,” he added.

Also present at the event were Indian filmmakers Imtiaz Ali and Arif Ali who are collaborating with Japanese film company, Shochiku, to produce ‘Love in Tokyo’, a love story revolving around Japanese and Indian characters.


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