• Kyodo

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The Crown Prince said Sunday night he believes Japan 2001, a yearlong festival in Britain to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle, will leave lasting memories and help shape the friendship between the two countries.

The Crown Prince, at an opening reception for Japan 2001, said he is convinced the festival’s series of events will strengthen relations between Britain and Japan.

Earlier in the day, the Crown Prince and Britain’s Prince Charles joined Matsuri-Japan in the Park, in central London’s Hyde Park, taking part in Awa Odori dancing that originated in Tokushima Prefecture.

The two also viewed a display of “yabusame,” archery on horseback.

They observed mounted archers shooting at stationary targets while riding at a full gallop.

Yabusame is a traditional warrior’s form of prayer or religious exercise performed in shrine precincts in Japan.

Hyde Park was lined with booths selling Japanese foods.

More than 2 million people are expected to participate in the hundreds of events scheduled through the end of next March throughout Britain.

The Crown Prince, who is honorary president of the festival, arrived in Britain on Friday. He is making the visit alone because his pregnant wife, the Crown Princess, decided to stay home.

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