CM hopes Sumo cements Manipur-Japan tie

IMPHAL, 22nd Nov: Chief Minister N Biren said that the present government is trying to rebuild the strong relationship between Japan and Manipur.
He made the statement at the opening ceremony of the 1st Sumo Wrestling Event which was held at Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium on Thursday as a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival.
The sumo wrestling event was organised by Salai Holdings Pvt Ltd in association with Tourism department.
In his address as the chief guest, Biren said that the government is planning to set up a permanent heritage site to showcase cultures and identities of all 35 communities of Manipur at Keibul Lamjao, home of the endangered Sangai deer species, which is main theme of the festival.
While disclosing that the government is planning to make the proposed cultural heritage site the main venue of the festival, the chief minister expressed that conduct of the sumo wrestling event will give fresh thrust in reviving and strengthening cultural ties between Manipur and Japan.
Saying that men cannot live alone, Biren opined that maintaining good relationship with other countries will help in developing and promoting Manipur's rich cultural heritage to other parts of the world.
The further observed that after the Second World War, there has been a close relationship between Manipur and Japan. He also recalled that Japan helped Manipur in sericulture sector.
However, owing to apparent absence of warmth and ignoring the need to show Japanese officials and visitors the optimum hospitality, Japan has been hesitant to invest their money in Manipur further. While stressing that government as well as people of Manipur need to lend support and co-operation to Japanese government, he conveyed that inlcusion of the Sumo wrestling festival is a part of regaining cordial ties with Japan.
The chief minister continued that Japan has approached the state government to build a Japanese Memorial at Japan War Memorial of Maibam Lokpa Ching for which construction activities has started following a lease signed with the state government.
Biren said that one of the main motives of organising Sangai Festival is to bring integration among various communities settling in the state. From this edition, Manipur Cherry Blossom Festival is also a part of Manipur Sangai Festival 2018and Sangai Run was held at three different locations including Mao on Wednesday.
Biren continued that there has been a steep increase in the number of foreign tourists in the state from around 300-400 tourists in 2014-15 to over 4000 visitors in 2017-18. He announced that the Princess of Thailand and US Ambassador in India will be participating at the Manipur Sangai Festival on seventh and eighth day of the festival respectively.
He mentioned that the Princess of Thailand would be visiting historic places such as Kangla during her visit.
Cultural items including Thang-ta and traditional Mukna were showcased during the opening function which was presided over by YAS Minister Letpao Haokip.

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