Sat, 02 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], November 20 (ANI): On Monday, a 35-member delegation from Japan's Fukuoka Prefectural Government arrived at the Delhi Secretariat to meet Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Led by Vice Governor Akie Omagari, the delegation included members like Makoto Sasaki, the Vice Chairperson of the Fukuoka Prefectural Assembly.

The delegation visited Delhi to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the twinning agreement between the Delhi government and the Fukuoka Prefectural Government (FPG). This agreement, first signed on March 5, 2007, and still ongoing, was extended until March 31, 2026.

During this 15th-anniversary ceremony, Arvind Kejriwal and Fukuoka's Vice Governor Akie Omagari signed the twinning agreement. During this meeting, the Delhi Government's Cabinet Ministers were also present.

The collaboration between the Fukuoka Prefectural Government and the Delhi Government has focused on various areas of mutual cooperation, primarily encompassing the environment, culture, tourism, heritage, education, and youth exchange.

Over the past 15 years, both cities have engaged in various activities in art and cultural exchanges, environmental technology, and student/youth exchange programs. The agreement also aims to explore possibilities in the areas of environment-related major issues today. Consequently, there's a possibility of involvement not only with school students but also with cultural groups as a result of this agreement.

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greeted the delegation from the Fukuoka Prefectural Government.

"Greetings to all from the bottom of my heart, as I stand before you representing the extraordinary bond between Delhi and Fukuoka as sister cities, a connection deeply woven with the threads of developed and shared cooperation since 2007. Delhi and Fukuoka have had a Friendship Agreement since March 5, 2007, and I am extremely delighted that the same is now being extended for a further period of 03 years till 31 March 2026," the Chief Minister said.

"Our friendship isn't a mere agreement between two cities; it's a profound connection rooted in spiritual affinity and cultural ties that have weathered the sands of time. The influence of Indian Culture, particularly through Buddhism, has left an indelible mark on Japanese society, fostering a genuine sense of closeness among the Japanese people toward India in general and the people of Delhi in particular. Our friendship agreement of the last 15 years, in particular, has brought both cities closer by way of mutual cooperation and exchanges and benefits, especially in the fields of Environment, Art and Culture, Archaeology and recently in the field of Education," Kejriwal added.

"Delhi government believes that increased cooperation activities will further harness the potential in the spheres of environment, which has been a major concern for us and also in health, education and other areas by way of more mutual exchanges," the Chief Minister said.

"Japanese language is now taught in many Delhi Government Schools in which hundreds of students are enrolled, apart from online exchange and interactions undergoing between students of two schools in each city. The FPG delegation, during their visit in 2022, appreciated the technical expertise of the Archives of Archaeology, GNCTD in the field of paper conservations, digitization and microfilming and conservation of monumental heritage which is indeed a matter of great pride for us," he said.

"Delhi and Fukuoka have had a Friendship Agreement since March 5th, 2007. Now, this agreement has been strengthened for a further period of three years, that is from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2026. Our friendship agreement of the last 15 years has brought us together, benefitted especially in the fields of Environment, Art and Culture, and recently expanded in the field of education. Many interactions and visits between the two cities have taken place, and experts from Archeology, Art and Culture, Environment and recently education benefitted. The Japanese language is now taught in some Delhi Government Schools. Today, on behalf of the Government of NCT Delhi, I would like to further our friendship for both sides and to ensure all the decided plans between us are acted upon. So friends once again thank you and wish you very best on the commemoration of 15 years of friendship between Delhi and Fukuoka," Delhi Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj mentioned.

"Today, Our delegates have been warmly welcomed by you, and my heartfelt thanks for the warm welcome that you have extended. And I'm delighted to meet CM Arvind Kejriwal Ji and also the Delhi Government for arranging such a warm gathering today," Vice Governor Fukuoka Prefectural Government Ms. Akie Omagari stated.

"My Sincere thanks for the initiative that has happened after the friendship agreement that's been extended between the Fukuoka Prefectural Government and the Government of Delhi, since March 2007. And since then cooperation between both the cities has been happening in the fields of Environment, Art and Culture and recently in the field of education. And I'm also very thankful that it's been further expanded for another three years," she added.

"In 2018, in the MoU, culture, tourism, and cultural heritage prevention have also been added. Therefore there have been expert visits from both sides and we have been sharing knowledge. In this year's December, I'm delighted that there is a visit of Delhi Government Art and Culture delegates and we're looking forward to it. Also in the field of Environment, so far 24 experts have visited from Fukuoka and they have also gone through a training program International Environment Expert Training Program. For decarbonisation and the improvement of the environment. If we can do something together that'll be very much delightful for us," the Vice Governor stated.

Vice Chairperson Fukuoka Prefectural Assembly Makoto Sasaki stated that In March 2007 our Friendship Agreement happened in various fields. Arvind Kejriwal has heavily focused on the environment.

In Fukuoka, and South East Asia we have environmentally friendly technologies. Environment and education-related cooperation have been extended with the Delhi Government more than what's been done so far. We would like to increase our cooperation in these fields. We stand by the cooperation between the Delhi Government and the Fukuoka Prefectural Government and we will do all possible cooperation from the assembly's side.

Arvind Kejriwal shared a few excerpts from this meeting stating, "Privileged to host Vice Governor H.E. Ms. Akie Omagari and the esteemed delegation from Fukuoka Prefectural Government on the momentous occasion of the 15th Anniversary reception. Strengthening our bond beyond art, culture, environment, and education marks a prominent step forward in our collaboration." (ANI)

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