Japan Week kicks off in India to mark 50 years of ties


Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Japanese-Indian diplomatic relations, a Japan Week festival kicked off here Monday with a performance of traditional Japanese drumming at the official residence of the Japanese ambassador.

The opening ceremony was attended by dignitaries from both countries, including former Indian President Kocheril R. Narayanan and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who plans to hold talks with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit.

“Since I visited in India in 2000, this will be my fifth meeting with Prime Minister Vajpayee,” Mori said in underscoring the strong ties between India and Japan.

Mori had been scheduled to deliver a personal message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Vajpayee on Monday, but Vajpayee fell ill and the meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday.

Mori introduced the all-female drumming group Honoo Taiko (Drums of Fire) as “Ishikawa Prefecture’s pride to the world.” Mori is a native of Ishikawa.

Based in Matto, the group led by Akemi Jige debuted in 1992 and has since performed in 17 countries, including Russia, the U.S. and Mongolia.

About 1,000 people attended the performance.

Organized by the Japan Foundation and Japan Information and Culture Center, Japan Week events will be held in major Indian cities through next Tuesday.

The attractions include a performance by blues singer Fusanosuke Kondo, Japanese films and displays of ikebana.