Her Excellency said that as a former Japanese Ambassador to UNESCO, she was delighted to be stationed in Budapest, one of the most beautiful cities, a world heritage site and the pearl of the Danube. Although she had arrived in Hungary so recently, she was already impressed by its beauty.

Ambassador Sato touched upon some of the areas and events that symbolise and illustrate the bilateral relationship. “Currently, there are about 450 Japanese students in Hungary, majoring mainly in music and medicine,” she said. “The working holiday scheme, which was initiated on the occasion of Minister Szijjártó’s visit to Japan last February, will broaden the exchanges among young generations.

“The number of Japanese companies operating in Hungary has increased, reaching almost 160, and creating more than 34,000 local employments. We remain indebted to national and local governments for their support to Japanese companies. In this context, let me draw your kind attention to some of the Japanese companies who exhibit their services and products at our reception.”

The ambassador shared with her guests some highlights of 2017. “In April, we organised an exchange event on Kendo, a Japanese martial art. Mr. Naoki Eiga, a former World Kendo champion, visited Hungary and gave exclusive lessons to little children as well as to the members of the Hungarian national team. As you might know, Hungary is very competitive and was awarded the third place consecutively in the World Kendo Championship.

“In August, His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino and his daughter, Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako, made a private visit to Hungary. This visit took place as the Prince wished to come back to Hungary.

“I heard that the Prince and the Princess have truly enjoyed their stay thanks to the warm hospitality by the government and people of Hungary. Princess Mako announced her engagement shortly after this trip. I assume that the time they spent here immediately before the announcement would remain memorable on that account as well.”

Ambassador Sato said that in Budapest in September, Japan had participated in the OMÉK (National Agriculture and Food Exhibition and Fair) as a partner country. This had offered Japan a great opportunity for introducing traditional Japanese foods, and for strengthening the bilateral relationship through cuisine.

She said Japan owed its success in OMÉK to H.E. Dr. Sándor Fazekas, Minister of Agriculture, who had invited the Japanese government to take part in the fair. Minister Fazekas had accepted the invitation to be guest of the reception and delivered his speech.

For the evening, the embassy had prepared “Washoku”, Japanese cuisine, which is inscribed as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Before her posting to Budapest, Ambassador Sato was Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO, since April 2015.

Emperor Akihito has reigned over the Heisei Era since his enthronement in 1989. He was born on December 23, 1933, and is the 125th emperor of Japan. The Emperor’s Birthday is a moveable national holiday, dependent on the incumbent’s birth date.

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