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
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
Odissi dance performance by Ms. Masako Ono