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Reception to mark Cross Years of Russia and Japan opening

May 26, 2018, Moscow

Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe attended a reception following a concert at the Bolshoi Theatre to mark the opening of the Cross Years of Russia and Japan.

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (retranslated): Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted that we have opened the cross Year of Japan in Russia and Russia in Japan. I hope you liked the Japanese traditional ceremony of Kagami Biraki performed by Budokan Karate masters and the drum and dance ensemble Drum Tao.

I believe that all of this suits the occasion very well as a demonstration of the synthesis of Japanese traditions and modern reality, as well as a combination of the creative ideas of Japanese and Russian masters of arts, Budokan Karate masters, musicians, performers and dancers of the wonderful school of Russian ballet.

Ladies and gentlemen, the cross-year has barely begun. Lying in store for us are many interesting and impressive events, such as Kabuki performances, art exhibits and the traditional Japanese art of mounted archery – Yabusame, which the Russian public will see for the first time.

Japanese festivals will be held in many Russian cities. We also plan to hold political, economic and research events and youth, sports and interregional exchanges. Over 300 such events have been planned, and many more will be added to the agenda. I invite you to visit them and discover the unexplored elements of Japan.

We will not limit our contacts to the framework of the cross-year. Thanks to simplified visa requirements, the number of Russian citizens who visited Japan last year increased by 40 percent compared to the year before.

We will try to make the best use possible of the opportunities offered by the cross-year and the 2018 FIFA World Cup to make a breakthrough in humanitarian ties between our peoples.

Today we have invited to our reception famous politicians, economists and those working in the sciences and the arts, making a great contribution to Russian-Japanese relations. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of them and to ask them to continue to assist us in this undertaking.

Thank you.

(Speaking in Russian) Spasibo.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, friends,

People in Russia have always had a great interest in Japanese history, culture and traditions. We have watched respectfully Japan’s progress and the impressive examples of Japanese talent.

I know the Japanese people look forward to and admire performances by Russian artists. My friends from the leading Russian orchestras and theatres have told me about this. What does this mean? It is evidence of mutual attraction and sympathy between the people of Russia and Japan.

We are living in a complex and rapidly changing world. Partner relations between Russia and Japan are what we need, what Russia and its friends in neighbouring Japan need.

We are grateful to Mr Prime Minister for the attention he pays to the development of Russian-Japanese ties and for his idea of holding a Year of Japan in Russia and a Year of Russia in Japan, which will allow us to learn more about each other and will bring us closer together.

I would like to thank everyone who is participating and will participate in these events and wish success to everyone.

(Speaking in Japanese) Arigato.

May 26, 2018, Moscow