Levan Tsintsadze, Georgia's ambassador to Japan since December, said his mission is to promote active cooperation in science and culture between his country and Japan.

While the two countries have enjoyed strong bilateral ties since 1992, Tsintsadze said the mountainous country, which is the birthplace of wine and is located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe — surrounded by Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan — would especially like to strengthen cultural exchanges with Japan.

In a visit Tuesday to The Japan Times, Tsintsadze stressed that Georgia has "an ancient history, with a rich culture and unique traditions like Japan."

"We would like to do more exchanges in art, theater, folk songs and traditional dances," he said.

Tsintsadze, 44, who is a physics and mathematics scholar, has lived in Japan for a total of 15 years. He has worked at several Japanese universities and at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, a predecessor of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union until 1991.