• Kyodo

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The mayor of Mongolia’s capital said Wednesday that Ulan Bator is seeking to forge a sister city agreement with Tokyo by 2020 and expand bilateral ties through tourism, culture and sports.

“I conveyed our wish to establish a sister city agreement with Tokyo and upgrade our ties,” Sundui Batbold said in an interview following his meeting with Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, whose city is hosting the Olympics and Paralympics three years from now.

Under the proposal, which he hopes to finalize while he is in office until 2020, Batbold said he wants his city to gain more knowledge and technical expertise from Tokyo in waste disposal and recycling, and attract more tourists to Ulan Bator.

On Tokyo’s hosting of the Olympics, Batbold quoted Koike as telling him she welcomed the participation of more Mongolian athletes. He expressed hope that many of his compatriots would take part in the games.

“I would like to seek the cooperation of Mongolian sumo wrestlers, for instance, Hakuho, and see the exchange of our cities’ cultural ambassadors,” he said, referring to the yokozuna (grand champion).

Over the years, Japan and Mongolia have forged close ties, given their shared interest in sumo, with Mongolian wrestlers showing dominance in Japan’s traditional sport. In 2015, the nations signed a free trade agreement, a first for Mongolia.

Batbold, who is in Tokyo for a five-day visit through Friday to meet with Koike and learn about city planning, said he sees the FTA as a key driver to enhance trade and investment for their countries.

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