Prince Akishino, the second son of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, and his wife Princess Kiko will pay an official visit to Romania, May 18-22, at the invitation of Romanian President Traian Basescu.
Their royal highnesses started off a European tour on May 10, as part of the year of friendship between Japan and Danube countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The Japanese prince and princess will attend the reception parties extended by state leaders, and they will also be touring historical places and museum.
Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko are expected to arrive in Bucharest on Tuesday and visit the Japanese School. On the second day in Romania, they will pay a courtesy visit to President Basescu and tour the Cotroceni National Museum at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace of Bucharest.
The prince and princess will also meet Chairman of the Romanian Senate Mircea Geoana and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Roberta Anastase.
On Wednesday after-noon, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko are scheduled to meet professors and students of the Japanese Section of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department of the Bucharest University, plant cherry trees at the Village Museum and visit the building of the Ministry of Culture, Religious Affairs and National Heritage.
On Wednesday evening, they will be attending a dinner to be extended by President Basescu.
Their royal highnesses will be touring the Sinaia Monastery and the Peles Castle and have lunch at the Foisor Castle on Thursday, while on the last day of their visit, on Friday, they are scheduled to visit the Branesti Agricultural School and the Beekeeping Research and Development Institute.
The visit of the Japanese prince and princess was announced back in January by Japanese ambassador in Bucharest Yoshinobu Higashi.
The ambassador said back then that 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic ties between Japan and Romania, which will be celebrated by the Japanese Embassy in a series of cultural and social events.
The ambassador also said that early this year a first exchange of congratulatory letters occurred between Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Romania’s Prime Minister Emil Boc.
Aso said in his letter that in the context of the 50th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic ties between Japan and Romania, Prince Akishino, on behalf of Japan, and President Traian Basescu, on behalf of Romania, became the honorary chairmen of this academic year in Japan.
2009 is also the year of friendship between Japan and Danube countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
Japan and Romania, said ambassador Higashi, are very remote in terms of geography, but they have excellent friendly relations.
The ambassador also mentioned that the numbers of commercial companies operating in Romania is on the increase and Japanese authorities are contemplating boosting the economic ties with Romania.
The ambassador also pointed out that Japanese development assistance greatly contributed to improving Romania’s infrastructure, mentioning to the point $111 million in assistance for the modernisation of the Constanta Sud port, which completed in 2004.
As Romania became a full member of the European Union on January 1, 2007, there are now hopes that econimic exchanges between Japan and Romania will increase significantly, because trade between the two countries is still conducted in indirect exchanges through various other European areas.
Bilateral trade between Japan and Romania stood at $450 million in 2007.
On the other hand, more than 100 Japanese volunteers have so far been dispatched to Romania to cooperate in environmental protection and youth education. Japan has also welcomed 900 Romanians for training and education, who have learned about Japanese technology and know how.
Ambassador Higashi said by these active exchanges of persons and know-how transfers Japan supported Romania’s modernisation and at the same time worked to create extended human connections between the two countries.
Early this year, a Japanese volunteering programme was established, conducted by the Romanian Foreign Ministry. Six Japanese volunteers have come to Romania under the ‘Japan Culture Volunteers’ programme to work with institutions offering Japanese school tuition and organisations in Bucharest, Targu Mures, Timisoara and Iasi.
Japan has a different culture and very many Romanians are interested in this culture, said Higashi, mentioning that cultural ties between Japan and Romania are very close.
The Japanese Embassy in Romania is marking this anniversary year of Japan’s relations with Romania in a series of cultural events, including concerts, exhibitions, as well as traditional dance and music shows.