Japan Calling Japan Calling  


Japan Embassy In India   

Tsugaru-Shamisen concert by Ms. Kuniha Sawada and Ms. Kunie Sawada

countries. This was followed by a video message by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, describing the splendor of Japan and inviting tourists to visit the country.

   In his inaugural address, Ambassador Enoki spoke about both the governments’ intention to increase the two-way tourist traffic between Japan and India to 5,00,000 tourists by the year 2015. In order to achieve this target, he sought the cooperation of all stake-holders, such as travel agencies, airlines, hotels, media and the government. He also announced the new simplified visa application procedure for Indian package tour travelers to Japan, effective 1st May 2007.

   After the Ambassador’s address, the ‘Japan-India Tourism Exchange Year’ was formally launched with the joint unveiling of the tourism logos of both countries, ‘Yokoso! Japan’ and ‘Incredible India’, by the distinguished dignitaries.

   Mr. Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan, in his speech, spoke about the ‘Visit Japan Campaign’ started by the Government of Japan, through which it aims at inviting 10 million tourists to Japan by the year 2010. He felt that keeping in view the friendly relations between our two countries, their economic power and the large size of their populations, the current level of tourist exchange is rather small and has vast potential for increase. As Japan and India are currently celebrating the ‘Japan-India Friendship Year’ to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their cultural ties, it was decided to designate the year as ‘Japan-India Tourism Exchange Year’. He also mentioned about the tremendous feeling of respect and regard that Japanese people have for India as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and their desire to visit the Buddhist holy sites in India at least once in their lifetime.

   Ms. Ambika Soni, Minister of Tourism and Culture of India, talked about the significant role played by tourism to build and strengthen relations between countries in this age of globalization. She also spoke about some of the steps being planned by the Indian government to increase tourist inflow to the country, such as development of infrastructure, including budget hotels, visa facilitation, better transportation facilities, etc. She especially thanked the Japanese government for its cooperation in developing the Buddhist circuit in India and hoped that by further continuing their cooperation, the two countries could immensely benefit each other.

   Also present on the occasion was Ms. Yoshino Kimura, famous Japanese film and television actress, who is designated as the Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Tourism. She pleasantly surprised the guests by greeting them with ‘Namaste’ and speaking a couple of sentences in Hindi. She added that she loved India and the many things associated with it, such as Yoga, Indian food and Indian movies, and invited the Indian tourists to visit Japan, a country full of natural beauty and hospitality.

   In the end, Mr.Ryuji Funayama, Chairman of Tourism Industry Association of Japan, raised a toast to the success and good relations between Japan and India.

   This was followed by a Tsugaru-Shamisen (a Japanese string instrument) concert by two well-known musician sisters from Japan, Ms. Kuniha Sawada and Ms. Kunie Sawada.

   The finale was a scintillating dance performance by Ms. Masako Ono, who presented two Odissi dances and a traditional Japanese folk dance.

   These performances by Japanese artists were greatly liked by the assembled guests who applauded to show their appreciation.


Odissi dance performance by Ms. Masako Ono