An Indian cultural festival opened Saturday at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and India, with an elephant presented by India making a public appearance.

In an address at the opening ceremony of the two-day Indian celebration, called Mela, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda described the two nations as having a long history of mutual support, especially during Japan's postwar reconstruction.

Speaking about the decision of the late Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to send Japan the elephant Indira, named after his daughter, in September 1949, Fukuda recalled how the animal provided hope to Japan at the time.