23 Manipur, Nagaland youth reach Japan

DIPR IMPHAL, 28th oct: Following the discussion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14 in India, an Indian team from Manipur and Nagaland comprising 23 members Saturday landed in Tokyo at the invitation of Japanese government under the ‘IRIS program’. The team is led by Haobam Joyremba from Manipur.

Other members of the team are RK Miranda, Ksh Pinky, Ph Momocha, Chanakya Thounaojam, Maibam Chingkheinganba, Yurri AS, Chinhoinuam, Nambram Rocky, Dr Linda Kongbam, Zhokusheyi Rhakho, Khyulano Ezung, R Zanthun Patton, Atila Jamir, Shanisha Kent, Lusano Sophie, Narsang Jamir, Wangkhem Gokulchandra, Santosh Shekhar, Arambam Angamba and Yumnam Rajeshwar.

Shinzo Abe paid an official visit to India from September 13 to 14 this year at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On September 14, the two Prime Ministers held strategic discussions on a wide range of issues under the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.

The two welcomed the India-Japan cooperation on development of India’s North Eastern Region (NER) as a concrete symbol of developing synergies between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy. In this context, they noted with satisfaction the setting up of the India-Japan Act East Forum. They appreciated the cooperation between Japan and North Eastern Region of India, ranging from key infrastructure such as road connectivity, electricity, water supply and sewage, to social and environmental sustainability such as afforestation and community empowerment, as well as people-to-people exchanges including the "IRIS Program” inviting youth from the NER to Japan.

During the visit to Japan by PM Modi in November 2016, the two Prime Ministers agreed to mark the year 2017 as the year of Japan-India friendly exchanges, to further enhance people-to-people exchanges.

The year 2017 also marks the 60th anniversary since the Japan-India Cultural Agreement came into force in 1957.

On this occasion, various commemorative events are being held in both countries. The Japan Festival 2017 is a part of this initiative, which includes a series of film screenings, dance and music performances, food, sports scheduled in Delhi, from October 27 to December 16.

On the inaugural day of the Japan festival held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on Friday evening, the delegation of 23 members, 17 from Manipur and six from Nagaland took part and were introduced to the audience.

The Ambassador of Japan to India Kenji Hiramatsu flagged off the delegation of IRIS Program.

Later a dinner was hosted at the residence of the Embassy of Japan by the Ambassador. The delegation presented the gifts in the form of “Phiruk” to the ambassadors, minister and political advisor along with other staff of the embassy.

Later around 10 pm, the delegation was seen off to the airport by the Ambassador.

IRIS Program is a youth invitation program by the Government of Japan, which invites promising young talents from the North East Region of India.

This year, 23 people recommended by organisations in the states of Manipur and Nagaland, which have long contributed to strengthening Japan-India ties at community level, will be traveling to Japan from October 28 to November 4. During the visit, the members will visit Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Hiroshima, having wide-ranging experiences such as participating in environmental and disaster prevention programs, visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Shibuya/ Harajuku area, as well as meeting with Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and learning a local government’s effort to boost eco-tourism.

The Program was announced by Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu at the commemoration of the 73rd Anniversary of Battle of Imphal in May 2017. The name “IRIS Program” was taken from a mysterious link between Japan and the North East Region of India, one species of Iris flower called KOMBIREI commonly used in festivals. Kombirei was found to be a new species in India and identical with KAKITSUBATA which is known as “Japanese Iris” and considered an indigenous species of Japan for more than one thousand years.

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