President of the Swiss Confederation in Tokyo to celebrate 150th anniversary of friendly and fruitful relations between Switzerland and Japan

Bern, Memorandum, 03.02.2014

The friendship between Switzerland and Japan formed the focal point of the meeting between President Didier Burkhalter, accompanied by his wife, and Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on the first day of his visit to the country. The visit signals the start of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of bilateral relations between Switzerland and the island nation. Relations between the two countries are friendly and fruitful. Japan is Switzerland's second largest economic partner in Asia.

The President of the Swiss Confederation and the Emperor of Japan spoke of the longstanding relations between the two countries, which signed their first Treaty of Amity and Trade on 6 February 1864. That agreement was signed on Switzerland's behalf by Aimé Humbert-Droz, a watchmaker from the canton of Neuchâtel. The Japanese Emperor considers the visit by President Burkhalter, who is also from Neuchâtel, to be a sign for the two countries to inject even more dynamism into their relations.

During his stay in Tokyo, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs will also meet Crown Prince Naruhito and hold official talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. Contacts are also planned with local authorities and business representatives in the former capital Kamakura.

On 6 February, President Burkhalter will take part in a ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Japan.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.

Japan is Switzerland's fourth largest economic partner in the world (after the EU, the USA and China). In 2012, the value of Swiss exports to Japan rose to CHF 6.7 billion and imports stood at CHF 4.2 billion. Switzerland's main exports to Japan include chemical and pharmaceutical products, watches and machinery. Switzerland primarily imports motor vehicles, precious metals, jewellery, machinery and chemical products. Trade in services also plays a major role as does Swiss investment in Japan, whether in the secondary or tertiary sector.

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.


Additional indications:

150th anniversary of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Japan (Embassy of Switzerland)
150 years 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


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