President Didier Burkhalter to visit Japan to mark 150th anniversary of bilateral relations

Bern, Press release, 29.01.2014

President Didier Burkhalter will travel to Japan between 3 and 6 February. The visit marks the 150th anniversary of bilateral relations between Switzerland and the island nation. The president, who is travelling with his wife, will open the celebrations at a dedicated event. In addition to an audience with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and a meeting with Crown Prince Naruhito, the programme includes official talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. Japan is Switzerland's second largest economic partner in Asia.

On Monday, 3 February, President Burkhalter will arrive in Tokyo for a visit lasting several days. The programme includes an audience with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, as well as a meeting with Crown Prince Naruhito. President Burkhalter will also hold official talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. In the former capital Kamakura, contacts are planned with local authorities and business representatives. On 6 February, President Burkhalter will take part in a ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Japan. The two countries signed their first Treaty of Amity and Trade on 6 February 1864. At SWISSDAYS, a four-day anniversary event at Roppongi Hills in the heart of Tokyo, there will be performances by Swiss artists such as pianist Thierry Lang, singer Bastian Baker and alphorn player Eliana Burki. President Burkhalter will then travel on to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Japan is one of Switzerland’s foremost partner states in Asia. As well as having intensive economic relations, the two countries also share common values and a tradition of close cooperation in the political field, and particularly in the multilateral affairs. The visit offers an ideal opportunity to reinforce the bond of friendship between Switzerland and Japan and to identify further common interests and possibilities for cooperation.

The fostering and strengthening of contacts with Japan is in line with the Federal Council's Foreign Policy Strategy 2012-2015, whose fourth priority is to strengthen partnerships in the world's most dynamic regions. In the Asia-Pacific region this involves expanding bilateral relations with those states, enlarging Switzerland's presence in regional forums and pursuing a policy of solidarity with the countries of Asia.


Further information:

150 Years Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Switzerland and Japan (Embassy of Switzerland)
150 Years Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Switzerland (Embassy of Japan)
SWISSDAYS
Embassy of Switzerland in Japan on Facebook
Video on 150 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan
State visit to Japan


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